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Queensland Government media release

Wanted: Townsville’s tech and creative types and people with a disability. Why: to solve challenges and create life-enhancing devices.

Minister for Disabilities Coralee O’Rourke put out the challenge today to locals to nominate for next month’s “hackathon” challenge to identify life-enhancing tech solutions for people with a disability.

“The hackathons tie in with the National Disability Insurance Scheme goal of supporting a better life for Australians with a disability by using advanced manufacturing technologies to live more independently or become more involved in the community,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“People with disabilities whose needs are not being met by current technology are teamed up with designers, coders, occupational therapists, engineers, fabricators and manufacturers.

“The teams with the best concepts will receive support to further develop their ideas and potentially commercialise their technology.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said three hackathons in Toowoomba, Mackay and Townsville were designed to encourage Queensland manufacturers to produce more assistive devices, growing their businesses and growing jobs.

“Research shows that one in 10 Australians uses an assistive device to improve their quality of life and this sector will be worth more than $1 billion in Australia by 2020,” he said.

TAFE Queensland North will host an information session at its Bohle campus on July 17 for potential teams and challengers, before finalising teams on August 1.

The Townsville Assistive Devices Hackathon event will take place at the TAFE Bohle campus on August 18-20 and coincides with the rollout of the NDIS.

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart joined the call for locals from Townsville to get involved.

“I encourage everyone to register for the information session early as numbers are limited,” Mr Stewart said.

“This is an opportunity to test your skills and potentially change lives,” Mr Harper said.

Assistive devices aim to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and increase their independence, mobility and choices, and include household technology such as hoists, automatic blinds and door openers and personal items such as prosthetic limbs, high-performance wheelchairs and extendable reaching devices.

The hackathons are an initiative of the Queensland Advanced Manufacturing 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan.

Mackay’s hackathon is on 21-23 July and Toowoomba’s, on 4-6 August.

For more information visit http://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/industry-development/assistive-devices-hackathons.html

To submit your team visit https://absoluteevents.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/assistive-devices-hackathons/information-site

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