On September 4, 2019, the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced funding for two Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital (Holland Bloorview) technologies through its Accessible Technology Program.
Funding for Holland Bloorview projects include:
- The Hummer Project - $311,111
The Hummer Project will improve upon its vocal cord vibration sensor providing hands-free access to digital devices. This prototype has been designed for people who are non-speaking but can vibrate their vocal cords to produce a short “hum,” which, when paired with scanning software, can be used to perform keyboarding functions such as Internet browsing and word processing.
- The Brain-Switch Project - $387,523
The Brain-Switch Project will develop a versatile brain-computer interface to provide people with severe physical disabilities who are non-speaking with a reliable way to communicate with others and engage in the digital economy. The solution, which is comprised of a brain-sensing headset, a mobile software application, and a standard tablet, will allow users to interact with technology using brain signals.
“We are thrilled to be among the recipients of the Accessible Technology Program,” said Dr. Tom Chau, vice president of research, Holland Bloorview. “This funding will help to accelerate our research and commercialization activities, which together will ultimately bring our life-enhancing technologies to more people living with disabilities.”
The Hummer Project and Brain-Switch Project were developed by Holland Bloorview scientists in the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI).
The BRI is currently midway through its Grow Holland Bloorview Research fundraising campaign to increase global impact for kids with disabilities. The entirely donor-funded campaign will help drive forward client- and family-centred research that will make transformational discoveries for the most meaningful and healthy futures for all children, youth and families.
About the Accessible Technology Program
The federal government has invested $22.3 million over the next 5 years to the Accessible Technology Program, which include the $7.78 million investment announced on September 4.
The Accessible Technology Program is investing in hardware and software solutions that help Canadians with disabilities overcome barriers that come in the way of their full participation in the workplace. The program is part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year strategy to create well-paying jobs for the middle class.
To date, 15 projects have received funding through the program, including two from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.