Toronto, Ontario

Helping non-verbal individuals overcome communication obstacles

Nominated by:


Year: 2018

About the Innovation

Dr. Tom Chau has developed pioneering access technologies to help non-verbal individuals overcome communication obstacles. Working with a multidisciplinary team, Dr. Chau has examined how hemodynamic signal features and facial thermography can be employed in emerging methods of electrical engineering and machine learning. The result is a range of personalized, life-changing assistive technologies that give voice to the voiceless. From virtual musical instruments and vocal cord transmitters to an ultrasonic brain-computer interface, these innovations have had a profound impact on families, caregivers and health care providers by boldly reimagining the way we communicate.

About the Innovator

Tom Chau, Ph.D., P.Eng., is vice-president of research at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, director of the Bloorview Research Institute, the Raymond Chang Foundation Chair in Access Innovations, and a full professor in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He has directly supervised more than 60 graduate students and more than 120 undergraduate thesis and internship students. His research focuses on the investigation of novel access pathways for children and youth with severe physical impairments. Dr. Chau has published more than 190 refereed scientific articles, and holds 5 patents.

Tom Chau

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