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Air Date: November 19, 2020 | Length: 45:02
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The stories patients and caregivers tell of the difficulties managing day-to-day tasks stay top of mind for Dr. Alex Mihailidis, an award-winning scientist developing smart home systems to care for and promote well-being of older adults. From robots who support common household activities, floor tiles that monitor blood pressure and sensors that can send a reminder to turn off the stove, Dr. Mihailidisis alleviating the responsibility of care from the patient and caregiver and putting it into the home.
On this episode of Behind the Breakthrough, Dr. Mihailidis journeys through his years of research into smart home technology, with early innovations such as 'Ed the Robot' and his current role as Scientific Director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence. Dr. Mihailidis also tells the story of how he became a patient at the Toronto Rehab Institute, the hospital where he works, after surviving a 30-foot-fall down a cliff. Having to regain his ability to walk and perform daily functions, the tragic event taught him the importance of integrating his research with clinical practice.
"If we can come up with a solution through technology that can help ease the issues older people face, even just a little bit, and make it better not just for the person but the family that supports them...then that's why I continue to do this."
Dr. Mihailidis is the Scientific Director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, focusing on the development of new technologies and services for older adults. He also holds the Barbara G. Stymiest Research Chair in Rehabilitation Technology at the University of Toronto and Toronto Rehab Institute, and is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and cross appointed in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Mihailidis has been conducting research in the field of pervasive computing and intelligent health systems for the past 15 years, having published more than 200 journal papers, conference papers and abstracts in the field. He specifically focuses 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.
Dr. Mihailidis is very active in the rehabilitation engineering profession, having served as the Immediate Past-President for the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). He was also named a Fellow of RESNA in 2014, which is one of the highest honours within this field of research and practice.
Professor Mihailidis received a B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Toronto in 1996, a M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering in 1998 from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Bioengineering (Rehabilitation Engineering) in 2002 from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland).