Plenary Speakers


Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Kingdom of Thailand


Keynote: "Towards a Full Participation of Persons With Disabilities in Thai Society: The Role of Assistive Technologies"


Vivian Balakrishnan

Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports
Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts
MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC


Leonard S.W. Li

Director, Rehabilitation Unit, Tung Wah Hospital
Hong Kong


With the advancement of neuroscience and technology, widespread of medical disciplines have interests in research and management of patients with impairments and limitation in activities and participation from neurological disorders. These include the basic neuroscientist, radiologist, neurologist, rehabilitation physician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech pathologist, neuropsychologists, nurse, social worker and etc.

Vast volume of research varied from cellular neuroplasticity to the clinical management of patients at the community level has been appeared in the literature. The requirement of knowledge and skills to be expert in the field of neurorehabilitation is far more than the training from traditional medical specialties or rehabilitation professionals. The boundary of knowledge has been evolving beyond the model of traditional training. When translating of this practical evolution of neurorehabilitation into our daily practice, a comprehensive management of patients with neurological disorders requires a team of experts that cover the whole spectrum of knowledge and skills of neurorehabilitation, but at the same time the individual team members needed to share some common knowledge.

This will fit into the "Transdisciplinary Model" which involves cross training of team members and procedure development to allow overlap of responsibilities between disciplines. Theoretically, it will enhance the flexibility in problem solving, closer interdependence of team members and case management.


Dr Leonard Sheung Wai Li has been the Head of Division of Rehabilitation Medicine, University Department of Medicine, Tung Wah Hospital since 1994. Dr Li is concurrently holding appointments of Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine at the McLehose Medical Rehabilitation Centre and Honorary Consultant at the Hong Kong ReHabAid Centre.

Professor Li is also serving academic appointments in several universities, which include: Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong; Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Visiting Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sun Yat-sen University, Gunagzhou, China; Coordinator, Undergraduate Teaching in Rehabilitation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong; External Expert, Committee of Postgraduate Master Degree Courses, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Honorary Consultant, The University of Hong Kong Clinical Centre for Teaching and Research in Chinese Medicine, TWGHs Tung Wah Hospital.

Dr Li served as the Chairman of Specialty Subcommittee in Rehabilitation Medicine, Hong Kong College of Physicians (1998- 2002) and the President of Hong Kong Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (1997-2000). He is currently the Treasurer and Member of Executive Council, Hong Kong Neurological Society, Congress Chairman of World Federation for Neurorehabilitation, Honorary Consultant for the Division of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine, Secretary General of International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Interim Secretary General, Asian Oceania Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Leonard Li is an Associate Editor of many medical Journals, which include: Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, Neurorehabilitation and Nerve Repair, Chinese Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and WFNR Update.

Dr Li received his MBBS from the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1983, and has been a member of the Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom since 1987. His other qualifications include: Fellow of Australasian College of Rehabilitation Medicine (1992), Fellow of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine of Royal Australasian College of Physicians (1993), Fellow of Hong Kong College of Physicians (1995), Fellow of Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (1995), Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1997), and Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of London (2001).



Arthur F.T. Mak

Associate Vice President (Academic Development)
Head, Department of Health Technology and Informatics
Director, Research Center for Musculoskeletal Bioengineering
Director, Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Center
Chair Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


External reaction forces acting via various body support surfaces are required to support the body under gravity and external locomotive forces. These biomechanical forces act on the skin in contact with the body support surface and concomitantly deform the associated subcutaneous tissues. Examples include the forces acting on the buttock tissues during wheelchair propulsion, the forces acting on the plantar foot tissues during standing and walking, and the forces acting on the residual limb tissues via the prosthetic socket during ambulation. In many contexts of rehabilitation, such as in the cases for patients who need to be bedridden for a long time, subjects who are wheelchair-bound because of spinal cord injuries, as well as subjects with neuropathic feet, excessive exposure to unwarranted forces at the body support interfaces could lead to decubitus ulcer, which is commonly referred to as pressure sore. If these excessive epidermal loadings are not appropriately accommodated or relieved, either actively or passively, they can lead to extreme discomfort and serious clinical complications.

This presentation will highlight some of the major challenges in the pressure sore research and review our work on the biomechanics of body support interfaces since mid 90's. It summarizes our dynamic pressure measurement studies at the seating / buttock interfaces, the prosthetic socket / residual limb interfaces, and the insole / plantar foot interfaces under various conditions. It revisits a biomechanical criterion for pressure sore, proposed in term of tissue compaction following interstitial fluid flows under epidermal loading. This presentation describes the development of our tissue property assessment apparatus, namely the Tissue Ultrasound Palpation System (TUPS). It covers our recent work on assessing the subjective pressure tolerances of residual limb tissues. It also presents our recent experimental studies on the effects of externally applied epidermal loadings on cutaneous blood perfusion. This paper is relevant to the design of these body support surfaces such as prosthetic sockets, seat cushions and foot orthoses.


Professor Mak obtained his B.Sc. in Engineering Mechanics with highest honor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1976 and earned his Ph.D. in Biomechanics at Northwestern University in 1980. After spending 3 years of postdoctoral fellowship in Tissues Mechanics under Professor Van Mow at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Prof. Mak took up an Assistant Professorship in Bioengineering and Orthopedics Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prof. Mak joined the Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Center at PolyU in 1988 and was promoted to full professorship in 1995. Prof. Mak became Chair Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering in 1997 and in the same year was appointed as the Head of Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Center. Prof. Mak is active in local, regional, and international professional bodies related to biomedical and rehabilitation engineering. He chairs the Committee of Vocational Training for People with Disabilities in 1998-2007 and served as a member of the Hong Kong SAR Government Rehabilitation Advisory Committee during 2000-2004. Prof. Mak was the Asia-Pacific Chair of the International Commission for Technology and Accessibility in Rehabilitation International in the period of 1998-2004. Prof. Mak is the Founding Chairman of the Biomedical Discipline Advisory Panel of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, a member of the Asia Pacific Working Group of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering, the Honorary Secretary of the Executive Committee of the World Association for Chinese Biomedical Engineers, and a member of the World Council on Biomechanics.

Prof. Mak has held visiting/ adjunct faculty positions at Sichuan University and University of Pittsburgh. In 2005, Prof. Mak became the Founding Head of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics. The Department is the PolyU home for Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, and Biomedical Radiation. Prof. Mak is serving in the editorial boards of a number of international journals on biomedical engineering and rehabilitation engineering.

His research interests cover tissue mechanics, biomaterials and tissue engineering, seating biomechanics, peripheral joint biomechanics, prosthetic and orthotic bioengineering. Prof. Mak became Associate Vice President (Academic Development) of the University in 2006.



Martin G. Helander

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Nanyang Technological University


Many R&D studies have attempted to design an ideal Smart Home for the Elderly. The interest has been driven by the realization that smart homes may offer a convenient and reliable solution for addressing Medical and Health Needs of the Elderly. Design features, such as a Medical Advisory System, can be used for Rehabilitation as well as Monitoring of Health status.

There are various needs of elderly. Some address directly the medical welfare of elderly, and some support daily activities, which indirectly promote good health.

Our study took a novel approach to identify and classify need or various smart design features. Projective Testing was used to identify the needs of elderly users for features such as: telemedicine, customized computer, teleconferencing, tele-shopping, event reminder, robot helper and smart pets.

Altogether 192 different user needs were identified. These needs were sorted in nine categories: Health Communication, Security, Mobility, Support for Mental Activities, Support for Physical Activities, Prestige, Independence and Dependence. These were compared to "deep" needs structures of older people that have been documented in the literature including: Transcendent, Optimization, Anti-Ageing, Dependency Avoidance and Nurturance Seeking.

Together the two sets of needs structures can be used as a point of departure for design of smart homes for the elderly. There is however one caveat: Needs are different among different users. While some elderly accept ageing others do not; and while some seek an Independent Life some prefer to depend on others. Therefore the design of a smart home must consider the special situation of individual users.


Involved in human factors research since 1969, first in studies of driver performance and road safety; later in ergonomics of the workplace. From 1975 to 1978, Acting Professor of Industrial Ergonomics at Lulea University in Sweden with responsibility to coordinate the establishment of the department, the first of its kind in Sweden.

In 1976, consulting with the Mexican Government to set up industrial ergonomics research activities in Mexico. Lived in USA 1977-1994. Worked for Human Factors Research, Inc. in Santa Barbara, CA, and as faculty member at State University of New York at Buffalo. Visiting appointments at Virginia Tech and MIT. Research on driver performance and traffic safety, underground and surface mining, building and construction work, office automation, industrial automation and human-computer interaction.

Professor of Industrial Ergonomics at Linkoping University, 1994-1999. President of International Ergonomics Association 1994-1997. Founding Director of the Graduate School of Human-Machine Interaction, Founding Director of Swedish Center for Human Factors in Aviation at Linkoping University. Professor at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 1999-present. Director of Graduate Program in Human Factors Engineeering.