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SP CARE spreads love to the region

The Singapore Polytechnic Centre for Applications in Rehabilitation Engineering (SP CARE) will begin research and the exchange of expertise with her Thai counterparts through the development of three projects to assist and aid the mobility of disabled people. Read about the projects here!

 

by Cheryl Tan, School of Business 
 

David Liu, Deputy Manager, Centre For Application in Rehabilitation Engg, demonstrating the Thai version of the communicator for the non verbal.

With a new initiative between Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP), people with disabilities can look forward to cheaper assistive and mobility equipment soon.

The Singapore Polytechnic Centre for Applications in Rehabilitation Engineering (SP CARE) will begin research and the exchange of expertise with her Thai counterparts through the development of three projects to assist and aid the mobility of disabled people.

 

The first project will be to develop a Thai version of a communicator for the non-verbal. The communicator requires a user to recognise picture icons on a PDA and touches the screen to verbalise the text of the icon. NECTEC will jointly develop this communicator, by customising pictures of local cultures and voices in Thai for the communicator.

 

Dr Chadamas Thuvasethakul, Deputy Director of NECTEC and Singapore Polytechnic’s Deputy Principal, Mr Yeow Kian Peng exchanging the signed MOU.

The second project will involve the development of an English voice recognition system that will be developed by NECTEC. This English voice recognition, unlike other systems, do not need training by the user. The voice recognition system, when developed, will be integrated into voice commands for wheelchairs as well as command for environmental controls.

 

The third project will be the development of low cost motorised wheelchairs for the Thai market. While the controller for the motorised wheelchair has been developed by SP CARE, this collaboration will help to transfer SP CARE's knowledge in the conversion of manual wheelchairs into motorised wheelchairs. The project will be jointly carried out with NECTEC and other partners in Singapore and Thailand.

 

To formalise the cooperation between the two institutions, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Dr Chadamas Thuvasethakul, Deputy Director of NECTEC and SP's Deputy Principal, Mr. Yeow Kian Peng on 31 October 2006.

 

Deputy Principal, Yeow Kian Peng said: "It is a small step but with this partnership we can look forward to help disabled people in Singapore lead a better life by meeting their needs in assistive technology." Much as assistive equipment are widely available, disabled people still face problems in mobility as some may not have the muscular and/or financial abilities to facilitate use of equipment already available in the market.

 

Hence the collaboration sees three projects which would help alleviate the problem. These are, namely, to develop a Thai version of a picture-to-speech communicator earlier developed by SP CARE in 2004; to create a voice command system to help disabled people to use their speech to control any assistive devices; and to develop a low cost motorized wheelchair.

 

Dr Chadamas Thuvasethakul, NECTEC's Deputy Director, explains the significance of the collaboration: "In Thailand, there are many more disabled people than in Singapore. Access to equipment is low as the cost is very high because we have to import these products from overseas. With this (collaboration), we hope to help people lower the cost so many can gain access to these equipment."

 

This project is another example of Care & Concern which is one of the six core values of the institution known as SP CORE values.

 

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