General Chair, i-CREATe2017 (international Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology)
President, CREATe Asia (Coalition on Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology of Asia)
It is known that persons with disabilities will be able to improve their degree of independence and quality of life (QOL) through the proper use of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology. When looking around Asia, however, I would have to say that there are a very large number of challenges that all concerned, such as therapists, educators, doctors, designers and rehabilitation engineers, must take up in accordance with user needs in order to allow persons with disabilities to fully apply appropriate technologies, including robot technology, thereby living a lively life and taking an active part in society.
In 2007, leaders in the engineering field in Singapore and Thailand launched i-CREATe to scientifically discuss the application of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology in hopes of improving QOL of persons with disabilities. It is impressive that we have been able to continue to organize this convention in different parts of Asia for ten years since then. Of particular note is that Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a member of the royal family of Thailand, who is well-versed in engineering, has attended every convention. And it is our great honor and privilege to welcome her to the convention in Kobe as well.
I am confident that Japan's first i-CREATe convention to be held in Kobe in 2017 will not only help make Asia's efforts and initiatives in the area of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology widely known to those involved in Japan but also provide a golden opportunity to call the attention of stakeholders in each nation in Asia to excellent technology and devices developed in Japan.
Kobe is one of Japan's leading tourist cities and well-known for its gourmet food. Moreover, Arima Onsen (hot spring), one of the hot springs that have the longest history in the nation, as well as numerous World Heritage sites, is easily accessible from Kobe. I guarantee that before or after the challenging academic convention, you will be able to experience another dimension of Japan's appeal firsthand.
I look forward to seeing you in Kobe in the summer of 2017!
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