Utilising new technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities is the key aim of a new $1.5 million funding partnership announced today by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.
The funding will be used to seed fund start-up businesses that focus on technical innovations.
Mr Perrottet said the money would be allocated to the Remarkable Accelerator Program over the next three years under a new partnership between the NSW Government’s icare insurance and care arm and Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA).
“Technology changes lives, and our challenge as a community is to ensure we maximise the benefits innovation offers for those people living with a disability,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This partnership through the icare foundation will give businesses and people the help they need to take an idea to the next level, and in the end improve the lives of those with a disability and the community as a whole.”
The Remarkable program supports technology start-ups by providing seed funding, mentoring, coaching, access to investor networks, expertise and guidance.
Don Ferguson, icare Group Executive Integrated Care, said social inclusion and community participation were critical issues facing people living with disability.
“We believe that technology can be a powerful force that supports inclusion and breaks down barriers faced by people with a disability,” Mr Ferguson said.
“Our goal is to help accelerate technology from prototype into real inclusive technologies and improve quality of life and participation in the community,” he said.
CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Rob White, said rapid advancement of technology could improve the lives of people living with a disability in many ways.
“We see that advancements in artificial intelligence, augmented reality and machine learning will be game-changing for people living with a disability,” Mr White said.
Remarkable program founder Peter Horsley said the funding from the icare foundation would give a significant boost to those with innovative ideas.
“In the past, many promising solutions have not made it past the prototype stage in Australia, due to a lack of access to start-up capital, market opportunities and the network of support needed to guide these ideas towards commercialisation,” Mr White said.
“This funding will go a long way in helping ensure good ideas become a reality.”
One of the projects currently under development with Remarkable is Loop+, an activity tracker for wheelchair users that assesses risk and monitors prescribed care plans.
Loop+ uses real time data to increase a person’s motivation and compliance to prescribed exercises and reduce the potential for pressure-related injuries.