What’s new in the AT world?

Written by PDA President, Andrew Fairbairn

On Thursday 01 June I attended the Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia (ATSA) Independent Living Expo at the Perth Showgrounds. 

I went to check out what is new and upcoming in the AT world. To be very honest, I have been to many of these in the past and so was not really expecting anything to take my breath away. Well, I was very wrong.

There were well over 100 suppliers. Everything from all types of wheelchairs and wheeled mobility devices to bedding, beds and lift chairs for the lounge to modified accessible vehicles, to the latest in devices for vision impaired people.

I want to highlight 3 products that really blew my mind. 

#1. A remote-controlled wheelchair. I was wandering through the exhibits and this empty attendant wheelchair came towards me. It was surreal to see this, so I followed it to the stall to have a chat with the operator. She explained that it was designed for a user who needed to move the chair independently once they had transferred from the chair to a bed for example. It can be easily operated by a support worker or by the person with a disability.

#2. In the physical disability world, we know that on the whole wheelchairs haven’t really changed much in the past years. I came across Rove, an engineering company based in Melbourne, who are doing some game changing work in the build, and weight, of custom wheelchairs. They are building them with 3D printed Titanium, so they are super lightweight and extremely strong. As they are custom made, the final chair is completely custom fitted to the user and as they say, “millimetre perfect”.  I was passed a very big frame and it weighed no more than my prosthetic leg. Incredible.

#3. Mobility scooters are great, except when you forget to charge the battery. Well, there is now a solution. A solar powered scooter. This scooter has 2 onboard batteries which are on constant trickle charge as the scooter is being used out and about. It has 3 solar panels on it which are flexible. It can also be plugged into mains power.

I would encourage all members to go to the ATSA Expo in your area. It not only is a great opportunity to see, touch, hold and explore new AT, but also to network, meet new people and catch up with old friends. 

It was great to spend some time with my WA Associate Director, Melanie, and get some photos together.

Please check out the link below to see a short video of the remote-controlled wheelchair:

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.