Member of Engineers Australia
- Director, Tech4Life
- School: Flinders Uni Qual: M Theol Studies (Bioethics), School: Uni of Strathclyde (Glasgow), Qual: PhD (Bioengineering)
- Sunshine Coast, Qld
- Personal website: http://www.tech4life.com.au
I'm a consulting engineer focused on empowering people through technology. I'm all about finding ways to enhance the participation of people with disabilities and the aged in our society. I chair national and international committees focused on improving standards for wheelchairs and other technologies, I challenge governments and industry to write policies and rules that make it easier for people to get and use the technology they need, and I work in research to first understand what is needed (usually by asking the users first!) and then trying to find the best solutions to make that so.
I have a disability myself and came from a very creative family of engineers/technologists. I may not be a great inventor, but I'm always looking at things from two angles. If its a problem - what might work to solve that problem; if its a technology - what else could we use that for. Combine that with a fascination for the human body and I combined medical skills with engineering to become a biomedical engineer.
I needed to do maths/sciences at high school, but I was also able to learn a lot of trade skills from my father (an engineer & qualified Toolmaker) and the family farm! Out of engineering & medicine I chose mechanical engineering as it offered greater flexibility and I added in medical related subjects where I could and did a medically related final year thesis.
I gained a scholarship to go and study in Glasgow at a leading biomed engineering centre where I studied foot and lower leg biomechanics. When I came back to Australia I was asked to go to North Qld to set up a rehabilitation engineering centre and some subjects at James Cook Uni. And from there I've just continued to develop my rehab eng skills.
My work isn't just for the wealthy. Many have few resources, and I'm on the Board of Motivation Australia Development Organisation (www.motivation.org.au) which is focused on delivering mobility solutions (NOT just wheelchairs which is important) to people in less resourced settings. This work doesn't pay well - but it is very rewarding!
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Engineers Australia is proud to announce that 2011 is the Year of Humanitarian Engineering