Fast Facts

Technology delivering disability inclusion

Brainwave music and 3D printing of prosthetic limbs are no longer just science fiction – they’re emerging technologies that have inspired new ways for people with disability to participate more in everyday life.

Sydneysiders can discover for themselves how new technology is offering unlimited possibilities at the free, City of Sydney-produced Disability and Science Fiction Expo on 3 December at Customs House Library.

Celebrating International Day of People with Disability, the expo features interactive experiences with technology and a panel of artists, designers and scientists who will explore what the advances mean for people experiencing disability.

“It’s inspiring to see technologists facing these challenges and coming up with new ways to make our city – and world – a more accessible and inclusive place,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“We’re improving wayfinding and braille systems, putting in more accessible outdoor and community spaces and rolling out our new inclusive sports guide – and we’re proud to showcase these game changing developments for people with disability.”

At the expo from 1pm to 5pm, attendees will get hands-on with emerging technologies and explore how the power of the mind can extend senses and mobility.

They’ll also get to see how 3D technology works, making it possible to print your own prosthetic ‘limbs’ at home, and learn how inclusive design teams hack into objects, as well as help rethink the future at the Sci-Fi Maker Lab.

A panel discussion will explore topics including how emerging human technologies may promote equity or drive people apart. Attendees should book early to get a seat for the discussion and film screenings.

The full program includes:

Inspiration Stations (Interactive Expo) 1pm–3.30pm

See inspiring technologies and projects such as the eye-controlled music device by Psykinetic. The device was founded by internationally renowned biomedical engineer, Dr Jordan Nguyen.

Sci-Fi Maker Lab 1pm–3.15pm

Join an inclusive design team to imagine, illustrate and prototype fantastic solutions for the future. Facilitated by AbilityMate, Northcott Innovation and artist Stephen Mushin.

Documentary Screening, FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement

  • Screening 1 – Audio description: 1pm–2pm
  • Screening 2 – Captioned: 2.15pm–3.15pm

This award-winning documentary takes a close look at the drive to be “better than human” and the radical technological innovations that may take us there.

Panel Discussion 3.30pm–5pm – Science fiction and disability

Inclusive design thinking is rapidly enhancing assistive technology, helping people experiencing disability, participate in the world and even sometimes experience things that people without a disability can’t do. So who is disabled?

The panel will be Auslan interpreted and captioned.

Panelists include:

  • Naomi Malone: An experienced advocate in the field of disability inclusion across the arts and business. Naomi has managed multiple projects for Accessible Arts NSW and Westpac Group. Profoundly deaf, she is a graduate in arts and law from the University of Sydney and holds an MA in Public History from UTS.
  • Melanie Tran: Melanie is currently the Lead UX Designer at AbilityMate and is a board member at Leep NGO. She won the Young Achievers Award for her self-published poems and short stories and pursued The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to become the first person in the world with a neuromuscular condition to achieve the bronze, silver and gold award.
  • Vicki Sowry: Vicki is director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology. For over 25 years, she has delivered programs for artists in partnership with industry and academia that often foray into concepts found in science fiction.
  • Peter Horsley: Peter is the founder of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s technology accelerator called Remarkable, supporting new startups as they create technology to advance the social and economic inclusion of people with a disability.

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