ATSA Lot of Tech!

The Assistive Technology Suppliers Australiasia Independent Living Expo Perth 2018

Martin Q Doherty ATSAWhether it be high tech or low tech ATSA had a wide variety of Assistive Technology solutions on show at the inaugural ATSA Independent living Expo here in Perth and I was lucky enough to check it out. I could write everything that was on offer and who attended but we would be here for quite some time and not everything would be of interest to everyone so I give to you 10 things I learned at the ATSA Expo. This isn’t a top 10 listing as everyone’s top ten would be different in terms of importance.

  1. Assistive Technology is not just smart electronics set out to provide freedom and independence to those with physical disabilities. Assistive technology supports all disabilities, seniors and care givers just as much.
  2. Gatherings such these are a great platform for those in the health care profession to see a wide range of Assistive Technology first hand and give them the extra knowledge that they need when developing their skills and experiences.
  3. This Expo also allowed Assistive Technology users to see, feel, hear and experience some of the latest offerings in Assistive Technology as well as quiz the suppliers and provide feedback to them.
  4. Technology has not only advanced in terms of what it can do, but it has also become much more affordable. As our connected world becomes even more integrated with our everyday world it’s increasing the demand for our once specialised technology and integrating it with things that we now take for granted such as our smart phones. One great example of this is the Alber wheelchair power drive wheels for manual wheelchairs. They include smart phone apps that allow the user to essentially drive their chair by using their phone. This is great when your chair is out of reach. Load the app and drive the chair to you!
  5. It’s not all boring day to day technology! There were providers there that were able to show the fun and even educational side to assistive technology. The TADWA stand had a great demonstration on Virtual Reality and the benefits that this now much more affordable technology can bring. Imagine swimming with shoals of fish in some tropical ocean or taking a gondola ride in Venice but still being home in time for dinner.
  6. Safety! With the advances in GPS technology the old medi-alert pendants that helped in the case of a fall have taken a massive leap forward. Not confined to the traditional land-line now personal GPS trackers can alert you if the user wanders outside of a per-defined area or if they have a fall outside of the home. The Guardian Safety Pendants had a great range on offer.
  7. Like many, we all want our own level of independence and freedom. The ATSA Expo brought together many different organisations that can help with this. Wheelchair and mobility aids were obviously a large part of this. Everything from the ergonomically designed “go faster” wheelchairs to new advances in off-road/all-terrain chairs like the one showcased by the Ability Centre.
  8. Low-tech doesn’t mean obsolete! There was some amazing examples of low-tech solutions such as Gripperz non-slip socks, Star Cushion and Therm-Oz Showers. No batteries needed for this Assistive Technology!
  9. The Providers. There were no shortage of Disability service providers there. With the NDIS slowly rolling out across WA. Linking in with a good provider can help you unlock the access to some of the latest Assistive Technology that was on offer at the Expo. They can also help you get the most out of such technology.
  10. This was a really awesome highlight for me. BEAM Telepresence by Suitable Tech. Brought to the expo by the Expo’s WA Principle supporter the Independent Living Centre WA and the AT Chat team. BEAM was a robot of sorts that allowed AT Chat Member Ricky Buchanan to view and discuss in real-time from her bed in Victoria!!

I can’t sign off without giving a special mention to Danielle Loizou-Lake and Jos Franciscus who gave a great presentation about AT Chat and all of work that has gone into creating such a great Group. Well done.

Till Next Time, Martin “Q” Doherty

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