Alex Mihailidis
Is this year's keynote speaker
» Abstract. We all want to remain in our own homes and communities as we age, and wish to be proactive in our own health and wellness. However, the challenges of aging and age-related chronic diseases force many older adults into long-term care and assisted living facilities. In many countries, for the first time ever there are more older adults than children. This increase will have a significant impact on our healthcare services and economy around the world, as it is estimated that spending on continuing care for seniors will increase significantly over the next decade.

There is growing evidence that technological supports can bring about significant benefits for older adults and in supporting their health, while at the same time improving the cost-effectiveness of health and social services. However, the majority of these devices have not made it to market and suffer from various limitations that make them inappropriate for an older adult to operate efficiently and effectively. These limitations include the need for the user to have to learn how to use the device, effort required by the user in the technology operation, and an increased burden on family caregivers to install and operate the devices. In order to ensure that future technologies for aging are useful, new ways of thinking in their designs is required. Disruption in the current technology landscape is needed that will force the way that we think about the design of these technology to change. For example, in recent years these limitations have started to be addressed through the application of more advanced approaches, such as artificial intelligence (AI). This presentation will discuss the notion of disruptive technologies and how we are currently applying this concept is the design of our next generation of technologies to support older adults. New technologies will be presented that are built into the user environment and that use artificial intelligence to ensure that they are zero-effort for the user and their caregivers. «

» Short Bio. Alex Mihailidis, Ph.D., P.Eng., is the Barbara G. Stymiest Research Chair in Rehabilitation Technology at the University of Toronto and Toronto Rehab Institute. He is also the Scientific Director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, which focuses on the development of new technologies and services for older adults. He is a Full Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (U of T) and in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (U of T), with a cross appointment in the Department of Computer Science (U of T). He has been conducting research in the field of pervasive computing and intelligent systems in health for the past 15 years, having published over 150 journal papers, conference papers, and abstracts in this field. He has specifically focused on the development of intelligent home systems for elder care and wellness, technology for children with autism, and adaptive tools for nurses and clinical applications. He currently holds several major research grants from internationally recognized funding agencies to support this work (including both the Canadian and American Alzheimer Associations, NSERC, and CIHR). His research has been completed through collaborations with other researchers in this field from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and with various industrial partners. Dr. Mihailidis has also co-edited two books: one from CRC Press entitled "Pervasive computing in healthcare", and the other from IOS Press entitled "Technology and Aging", which resulted from him being the conference chair for the 2nd International Conference on Technology and Aging. Dr. Mihailidis is also very active in the rehabilitation engineering profession, currently as the Immediate Past-President for RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). He was also named a Fellow of RESNA in 2014, which is one of the highest honours within this field of research and practice. «
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