Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering

FSSA, Purdue University Launch Center to Help the Disabled

February 1, 2009

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Family and Social Services Administration's (FSSA) Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS), along with Purdue University's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, announced Tuesday (Sept. 16) that they will fund the Indiana Center for Assistive Technology. The $1.4 million research center will match new advancements in technology with the needs of individuals with disabilities.

"Our goal in driving this new research is to create an environment where market forces react to incentives, benefiting our state agencies along with the assistive technology community," said DDRS director Peter Bisbecos. "Indiana already provides up to $10 million a year in assisting individuals with devices such as hearing aids and touch-screen communication displays. We hope the development of this center will not only enhance these services, but act as a model for the entire nation."

The center will coordinate demonstration projects to advance assistive technologies and data to support devices that can directly help individuals with disabilities. In addition, the center will create an incubator to assist moving research and new technologies quickly and effectively from the laboratory to the marketplace.

"The Indiana Center for Assistive Technology will be dedicated to the mission of improving the functionality and independence of those with disabilities through the innovation and adoption of assistive technologies," said Steve Witz, director of the Regenstrief Center, which is located in Purdue's Discovery Park. "We want to create a way to exchange ideas and help improve the quality of life for those who rely on assistive technologies every day."

Regenstrief officials formally announced the launch of the Indiana Center for Assistive Technology in conjunction with its daylong fall conference, Transforming Healthcare Delivery: Advancing Multidisciplinary Research at Purdue, at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

Purdue and DDRS will partner with BioCrossroads and Fitzgerald & Associates in the development of the Center for Assistive Technology. The Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Crossroads Easter Seals of Indiana; the Indiana University School of Rehabilitation Sciences; and Purdue's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Engineering Projects in Community Services (EPICS) and the Mann Institute for Biomedical Development will all collaborate on the project.

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