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Bahrain urged to set up technology centre for disabled

Bahrain News
Thu, 07 Dec 2017
By Ghazi Alshehabi

BAHRAIN needs to set up its own institution to develop assistive technologies to help people with disabilities, said experts.

The recommendations of the Conference for Assistive Technology were announced at the conclusion of the three-day forum, which was held at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and Spa.

“The most important recommendation we came up with was the adoption of technologies that can help people with disabilities; not just adopting them but to manufacture, support and market these technologies in the GCC in general and Bahrain in particular,” said Arabian Gulf University (AGU) college of graduate studies associate professor in special education and psychology Dr Elsayed Saad Elkhamisi.

“Another recommendation was to train parents and specialists on how to use this technology and other technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

“We must set up a link between the people who have the right ideas and the companies that produce these machines.

“We have had a lot of brilliant ideas over the last three days, so if we can connect those people with the companies so they can sponsor these projects it would be excellent.

“We ought to have a centre that has technologies such as VR and AR so that parents, specialists in the field and caretakers can train on how to use them. Like the centre we have for training and research in AGU, we can either go to them or host training sessions here.”

The conference, under the slogan #Tech_No_Disability, was held under the patronage of Supreme Council for Youth and Sport first deputy chairman and Bahrain Disabled Sports Federation honorary president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

More than 200 people from 18 countries took part in the three-day event, which also featured an exhibition for tech companies and start-ups to showcase devices and apps designed to make life easier for the disabled.

Topics include how the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data can be used to help people with disabilities, as well as wearable devices and technologies. That includes the use of 3D printing to create artificial limbs for amputees.

The recommendations also included establishing an institution to adopt innovative experiences in the field of assistive technologies for people with disabilities, strengthening institutional and voluntary initiatives to empower people with disabilities through information communication technologies, using social media to raise awareness and the integration of assistive techniques in the detection, assessment and therapeutic intervention of people with disabilities in the early stages.

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