Trial giving Independence to Victorians injured in crashes

A trial of new technology to help Victorians seriously injured in road accidents live independently is underway as part of a partnership between the Transport Accident Commission and Deakin University.

TAC’s Head of Independence, Liz Cairns, recently visited the home of trial participant Josh Taylor to see how the technology, developed by the university’s Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, is being trialled to improve the independence and quality of life of TAC clients.

Mr Taylor, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury in a two-car collision in 2005 when he was 19, is one of four TAC clients taking part in the trial.

Using small sensors installed throughout a home, the technology, known as Sofihub, monitors a person’s presence to develop an understanding of their daily routine. The technology can detect anomalies that negatively impact the residents’ health, prompting them if they forget to take their medication or complete normal daily activities.

The technology can identify if something goes wrong in the home and help detect falls. In these cases, if a resident fails to respond to Sofihub prompts, carers or medical professionals will be automatically alerted.

The trial is being supported by Monash University through the input of an occupational therapist who works with TAC clients to ensure the technology is customised to their needs.

Ms Cairns said about 5000 Victorians were seriously injured on Victorian roads each year and about 90 of those include quadriplegia or severe acquired brain injury.

“The trial of the Sofihub sensor and audio technology is a part of the TAC’s commitment to continually look at innovative ways to increase the independence of Victorians who are seriously injured on our roads.

"This trial has the potential to significantly increase the ability of TAC clients to have a greater level of autonomy in their day-to-day living, and provide them with a better quality of life.

“If successful, this technology has the ability to be rolled out across the state to benefit thousands of Victorians,” she said.

Sofihub is also being trialled in the aged care sector in Geelong, to help people age in their homes. However, this is the first time it has been trialled by people who have a disability.

Depending on the outcome of the $60,000 six-month trial, Sofihub may be adopted by other TAC clients.

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