Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reading for fun and professional development

Browsing the internet is such a wonderful way of procrastinating. If you are ever in need of interesting (non-neuropsychology) reading, I recommend TYWKIWDBI (read 'tai-wiki-widbee, which is an acronym for 'things you wouldn't know if we didn't blog intermittently') for a variety of tasty bits and pieces. For a somewhat more scientific good read I recommend Not Exactly Rocket Science.

If you are prefer concentrating on neuropsychological topics, I would suggest this article on how to use various technological tools to keep up with literature.

Also, I will add another reminder here about the fact that  APS has access to full-text articles at (for members only, unfortunately).

Good reading,

Assistive Technology in the Workplace

The credit for this information goes to Katie Kirby and Gloria Smith-Tappe.

This seems to be an excellent, very thorough compilation of various technologies of which, I believe, we need to be aware. A whole range of gadgets and services that I was not aware of. For example, did you know that sign language interpreting is available via Skype?

Assistive Technology in the Workplace for People with a Disability

University of Ballarat

Exploring the use of assistive technology in the workplace can be the difference between getting or missing out on a job. This needs employees, potential employees and all those who help them getting to know about the wide range of assistive technology available, how to access it and how to source potential funding. Employers also need this information to best assist current and potential staff.

This booklet includes sections on assistive technology for people who are deaf/hearing impaired, are blind/vision-impaired, are deaf/blind, have physical disabilities, and have a learning disability. It also includes a section on the accessibility features of smartphones/iPads/tablet computers and a section on JobAccess and the Disability Employment Service.


A new study on smartphones in rehabilitation - subjects needed

I am re-posting a message I have received from Dana Wong. I think this study is worth supporting.

Dear all,

I'm writing to ask for help recruiting participants for a study that is being conducted by Elizabeth Seabrook, who is currently completing her Psychology Honours at Monash University and is being supervised by Jennie Ponsford, Adam McKay and I. We are looking at the way in which people who have sustained a TBI are using smartphones (e.g., iPhones, Blackberrys, Android phones) in everyday life, what their attitudes and experiences have been with these devices, and how cognitive, social, emotional, and occupational functioning may be related to the patterns of use, and barriers to the use of smartphones.  We're doing this study because we think smartphones have a great potential to be applied in TBI rehabilitation as a platform on which a number of assistive strategies may be integrated. We are therefore hoping that our research will not only show us what the patterns of smartphone use are in the TBI population, but also provide us with an indication of the functional barriers that may need to be addressed when designing effective interventions for clients using smartphones.
We are hoping to recruit participants to complete a survey about smartphone use, as well as questionnaires addressing daily functioning.  These measures may be completed at Monash University, Epworth Hospital (Richmond), at the participant's home, or over the phone. We are looking for individuals who:
  • Are over 16 years of age
  • Have a history of TBI
  • Have no other premorbid neurological condition
  • Have an adequate ability to speak and read English
Potential participants do NOT need to have any prior experience with smartphones - we need both people who use smartphone and those who don't.  Clients with a history of psychiatric disorder and/or alcohol/substance use can be included.  Participants will go into the draw to win an iPod shuffle.

The process of recruitment would be that clinicians would give the attached flyer to clients who meet the above criteria, and obtain their permission to be contacted by Liz, and/or ask them to contact Liz directly.  If you are willing to give the flyer to your clients, we would be most grateful - please contact Elizabeth Seabrook at for further info.

We have ethics approval for this study from both Epworth HREC and Monash University.

Many thanks,
unfortunately, it is a bit difficult to attach a file to a blog post, but I suspect that Elizabeth Seabrook will be happy to forward an electronic copy of the brochure. 

literature on technology in rehabilitation

Thanks to Katie Kirby and Gloria Smith-Tappe, below is a collection of articles on the use of technology in rehabilitation:

De Leo, G., Brivio, E., Sautter, S.W. (2011). Supporting Autobiographical Memory in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease Using Smart Phones. Applied Neuropsychology, 18:1, 69-76.

Svoboda, E.,  Richards, B., Leach L., &  Mertens V., (2012).PDA and smartphone use by individuals with moderate-to-severe memory impairment:Application of a theory-driven training programme, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation:An International Journal, 22:3, 408-427

De Joode, E.A., Van Boxtel, M.P.J., Verhey, F.R., Van Heugten, C.M. (2011). Use of assistive technology in cognitive rehabilitation: Exploratory studies of the opinions and expectations of healthcare professionals and potential users. Brain Injury, 2012, 1-10.

Apart from theory of smart phone applications, Gloria sent us a source of information about practice of implementing smart phones in brain injury rehabilitation. This website, supporting Implementing and evaluating Smart Phone Applications technology across the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program (BIRP) contains several useful documents offering practical advice.

Happy reading,


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another study on smartphone use in rehabilitation

PDA and smartphone use by individuals with moderate-to-severe memory impairment: Application of a theory-driven training programme

PDA and smartphone use by individuals with moderate-to-severe memory impairment: Application of a theory-driven training programme

Neuropsychological Rehabilitation: An International Journal

Volume 22, Issue 3, 2012, pages 408-427


Eva Svobodaa*, Brian Richardsa, Larry Leacha & Valerie Mertensa

a link is here
unfortunately, it is a pay by view article, at least using this link, but don't forget that APS has access to free psychology articles for all its members.



Virtual, mixed and ambient rehabilitation

Another interesting link courtesy of Katie Kirby:

Advanced technology in health care (including rehab) website:

I had a look, and it all feels almost like reading science-fiction, with a wealth of information about virtual reality, mixed reality (mixing of real world and virtual reality), ambient intelligence  ('a seamless environment of computing, advanced networking technology and specific interfaces. It is aware of the specific characteristics of human presence and personalities, takes care of needs and is capable of responding intelligently to spoken or gestured indications of desire, and even can engage in intelligent dialogue' - sounds pretty nice) and other things I confess I haven't heard of before. 

A site that seems to have a lot of good information, but will take a few hours and some spare brain capacity to explore. I am storing it as a treat for the next holidays.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A very worthwhile seminar

I have the pleasure to announce a seminar that will take place in August in Melbourne.

New Technology and Neuropsychology:
A multidisciplinary panel presentation and discussion.

With the recent explosion in the number of IT products in the marketplace, it is important that neuropsychologists remain up to date with the technologies available. This education seminar will provide an update as to some of the recent advances in IT and how they may benefit neuropsychologists. Four speakers will cover a variety of topics and a panel discussion will follow. Audience members will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion with their own IT experiences.

Professor David Darby
Lightening the load - iPad oriented task design for the 21st century
Prof Darby graduated from Medicine at the University of Melbourne in 1981, completing a PhD in neurology and neuropsychology in 1990, and his neurology training in 1991. Prof Darby has published over 80 research papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and has co-authored a neuropsychological textbook with Prof Kevin Walsh. He is a consultant for CogState Ltd , which he helped found in 1999, to develop computerized cognitive testing instruments for early detection of dementia in the earliest stages and is also Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne.

Dr. Edward Theologis
Medications made simpler with your iPhone
Dr. Theologis is a consultant psychiatrist with the Brain Disorders Program at Austin Health. His private practice utilises ‘Telehealth’, focussing on the delivery of health consults via services such as Skype.

Libby Callaway
Current considerations in the use of smartphone technology for people with ABI.
Libby Calloway is an Occupational Therapist with extensive clinical experience in ABI rehabilitation. She is also a researcher/lecturer at Monash University and the Research Manager at the Summer Foundation.

Izabela Walters
Technical tricks and gadgets for enhancing professional efficiency in clinical practice.
Izabela Walters is a neuropsychologist who works full time in private practice, is the National CCN webmaster and “resident geek”.

Yes, I will be there sharing my tricks for running a private practice, and I am looking forward to hearing all the geeky information that the other speakers will impart.

Come along to the Geek Fest!

It is taking place Tuesday 28th August 2012 at Michael Chamberlain Theatre, St Vincents Hospital:

6pm - cocktail party
6:30 - presentation
8:00 - cocktail party continues

For those of you that haven't received the information through e-mail, go to to register. For those who have received the e-mail, apologies for cross-posting, but how could I not?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Controlling a computer with your eyes

Forwarded by Katie Kirby. Who also adds that the source article can be accessed free for 30 days after publication by creating an account with the Journal of Neural Engineering.
Thank you Katie

Device Lets Disabled Control PC With Eyes
AAP, Herald Sun, July 13,

Engineers say they have built a cheap device that lets disabled people control a computer with just their eyes. The gadget comprises two video-game cameras, costing less than $A10 apiece, attached outside the line of vision to a pair of ordinary glasses, reported the team from Imperial College London.

The cameras relay the eye's movements to an ordinary computer, wirelessly or via USB, and use one watt of power Test subjects control a cursor on a screen just like a computer mouse, it was reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering

"We have achieved two things: we have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface," said co-author Aldo Faisal.

"This is frugal innovation; developing smarter software and piggy-backing existing hardware to create devices that can help people worldwide ..."It also allowed patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than more expensive technologies that require electrode implants in the brain.

" using mass-produced video game hardware, it is possible to produce an ultra-low-cost binocular eye-tracker with comparable performance to commercial systems, yet 800 times cheaper," the researchers wrote. The technology offers hope for restoring some level of independence to people who do not have use of their hands.

Other low-cost eye-tracking systems developed in the past had much lower performance, they added, while commercial-grade systems mainly used in research cost more than $20,000.

The researchers said they solved the problem of involuntary blinking in controlling the computer. Many systems use a blink to represent a mouse click, but the team calibrated their system to work on a single-eyed wink instead.

They were also able to calibrate how far into the distance their subjects were looking, holding promise for future applications that may allow people to control an electronic wheelchair simply by looking at where they want to go.