A humanoid robot is helping young Victorians recover from major illnesses and injuries in a world-first trial at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Experts from Swinburne University worked with rehabilitation therapists from the hospital to program the Transport Accident Commission-funded robot – called NAO – to deliver tailored rehabilitation programs to young patients.
Minister for Finance Robin Scott today visited the hospital where NAO was working with nine-year-old Miles Thompson, who was injured in a car crash at Woodend, three days before Christmas in 2013.
The trial was made possible after the TAC provided $25,000 to Geelong-based educational organisation, The Brainary, under a grants program to improve the lives of Victorians injured in transport accidents.
NAO is being trialled on children with conditions ranging from brain and spinal cord injury to cerebral palsy. It has found that children are better motivated and engaged with their rehabilitation programs, primarily physiotherapy, when delivered by the talking robot.
With about 5000 people hospitalised as a result of transport accidents in Victoria each year, Mr Scott said it was important that the TAC continued to support new initiatives to assist people recovering after accidents.
Not-for-profit community groups, local government authorities and state government departments are eligible to apply for grants of up to $25,000 under the TAC Small Grants Program.
Applications for the current round close on December 17, with a new round to be announced early in 2016.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Finance, Robin Scott
“Most Victorians are aware of the TAC’s accident-prevention work but many are less familiar with their other major role - helping people who are injured in accidents to get their lives back on track.”
“By providing funding for these types of projects, we are giving Victorians a better shot at leading happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives following transport accidents.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“It’s terrific to see Victorian organisations working together on initiatives like this pilot to create a brighter future for young people with spinal and acquired brain injuries.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021