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Aviator (SMART 100)

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The following SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity. More about the SMART 100.

Aviator — mind control system for wheelchairs

This innovation initially came to life when…

Aviator is a venture spun out of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia. Leveraging UTS’ proprietary software around thought classification for controlling electronic devices, the venture is developing a wheelchair control solution to respond to the needs of the severely disabled and paralysed. The inventor of Aviator, Professor Hung Nguyen, is currently employed as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS. Professor Nguyen leads a research team developing new, socially relevant technologies in line with priorities established by the Federal Government.

WHAT & HOW

The purpose of this innovation is to…

Aviator aims to improve quality of life through increased independence and mobility. Our value proposition is simple: we allow people to harness the freedom of their mind to overcome the limitations of their body.

It does this by…

Aviator requires a single source of input from the user — their brain waves — to control a device and does not rely on any physical input at all. By exploiting unique algorithms, Aviator collects brain signal data from a discreetly placed electrode at the back of a person’s head and classifies that data into commands to control a wheelchair’s movements.

PURPOSE & BENEFITS

This innovation improves on what came before because…

Currently, there is no wheelchair control system with a sufficiently high level of performance to enable full mobility without the reliance on some form of physical input. Control units such as joysticks require a level of physical input which may not be achievable by older arthritic wheelchair users and some suffering cerebral palsy, muscular disorders or locked-in syndrome.

Its various benefits to the customer/end-user include…

Although still in very early development, Aviator aims to allow people with severe disability the opportunity to control their wheelchairs and some of the electrical devices in their home by using trained thought.

COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

In the past, this problem was solved by…

Wheelchair control units such as joysticks require a level of physical input and systems in use today such as sip-n-puff or chin sticks tend to create a psychological barrier for users when engaging with the general public, particularly as their face is partially covered by equipment, making their disability more obvious.

Its predecessors/competitors include…

Traditional forms of control include the most popular joystick, and the less often used sip-n-puff or chin stick technology (used by the deceased actor Christopher Reeve). Head array systems are also used for translating head movements to wheelchair commands.

TARGET MARKET

It is made for…

Those people with severe functional limitations and activity restrictions associated with spinal cord injury, stroke, congenital disorders such as spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and those with severe balance disorders. All of these limitations can have serious negative consequence for a person’s quality of life and can often lead to conditions like depression due to feelings of sadness, worthlessness and isolation as a result of an inability to independently interact with others.

DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY

It is available for sale through…

Still in early development, Aviator is currently in discussions with control equipment designers and manufacturers in the hope the system will be incorporated into existing products offered through health equipment providers supplying to the disabled community.

Our marketing strategy is to…

Aviator’s ultimate objective is to have our system replace, or work in partnership with, existing wheelchair control systems. Our desire is to be the product of choice for health equipment providers, occupational therapists and end-users by partnering with some of the major wheelchair manufacturers throughout the world.

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