User input crucial to success in assistive devices design

The chances of functional and commercial success of assistive devices are greatly enhanced if the end users are involved in the design and development process from the very beginning, according to Dr Geoff Fernie, a world expert in assistive technology development.

Dr Fernie, of the Toronto Rehab Institute in Canada, will speak in Adelaide as part of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association Conference on September 24.

Professor Karen Reynolds (pictured), who heads of the recently launched Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) based at Flinders University, said that Dr Fernie has been extremely successful in developing and commercialising technologies for independent living.

Professor Reynolds, who will also make a presentation at the event, said Dr Fernie’s endorsement of a more collaborative approach is based on 30 years of experience and will be of interest to the aged and disability care sector, and also to the State’s growing medical devices industry.

“He provides a great example of what we aim to achieve in South Australia through the Medical Device Partnering Program,” Professor Reynolds said.

“The MDPP’s aim is to engage technology users at an early stage and to streamline the product development process,” she said.

Assistive Technology: Creating Value Through Participation was held on September 24 at, Engineers Australia, North Adelaide.

The presentation is sponsored by Flinders University, Noviatech and Engineers Australia.

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