i-CREATe 2008 will feature keynote plenary talks by the following experts in the diverse field of Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology.


Guest of Honor

Her Royal Highness
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn
Kingdom of Thailand




Keynote Speaker

Professor Shigeru Yamauchi

Professor, Department of Health Science and Social Welfare, Faculty of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Japan

Keynote: Assistive Products in Japanese Long Term Care Insurance

Download the Microsoft powerpoint presentation:
- English version (zip file - 983 kB)
- Thai version (zip file - 834 kB)


Japanese government launched Long Term Care Insurance in 2000. The premiums are collected from all the persons with 40 years older. The benefits include:

Details of leasing assistive products will be described together with changes in expenditure, recent system modification and its implication to the assistive product industry.


Professor Shigeru Yamauchi is currently a professor at the Department of Health Science and Social Welfare, Faculty of Human Sciences in Waseda University. He was educated at the University of Tokyo and has a degree in Engineering Sciences in the field of Inorganic material/Physical properties. He attended Graduate school and graduated in 1972, taking up Industrial Chemistry under the Engineering division. He also received his doctorate degree from the same university under the department of Industrial Chemistry.

He was the research associate at the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Tokyo from 1967 – 1973. He was also a Research Fellow under the Materials Science program at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA from 1967 – 1969. From 1973 – 1975, he became an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Tokyo and in 1975 – 1985, he was promoted to Associate Professor. From 1985 – 1992, he was appointed as the President of the Department of Rehabilitation Engineering, Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disability.

He is involved in several academic societies. He was the President (1989 – 1990) of the Japan Association of Chemical Sensors and was appointed as Chairman of the Committee for Rehabilitation Technology in the Japanese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine from 1993 – 1998. He served as President (1999 – 2000) of the Electromechanical Society of Japan and was the Vice President of the Japanese Society for Wellbeing Science and Assistive Technology from 2003 – 2005. Currently, he is a member of ICTA (International Commission of Technology and Access) of Rehabilitation International.

Professor Shigeru Yamauchi is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee for Assistive Products and Housing Modification in Long Term Care Insurance, Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and in the Technical Committee on Prosthetic Appliances, Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. From the year 2005 until now, he is the President of the Japanese Society for Wellbeing Science and Assistive Technology. In 2007, he was assigned as the Convenor, of ISO/TC 159/SC 4/WG 10, Accessible Design for Consumer Products.

Rehabilitation Science/Welfare engineering and Assistive Engineering, Assistive Products, Assistive Technology are his current research.

Professor Shigeru Yamauchi also received an academic award last October of 2006, from the Japan Society of Calorimetry and Thermal Analysis.


Keynote Speaker

Professor Arthur 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

Plenary: TeleCare Technology for the Vulnerable at Home and in Community

Download the Microsoft powerpoint presentation (zip file - 16.5 MB) HERE.


The safety of the vulnerable when they need to stay home by themselves is a big social concern. These vulnerable include the elderly and the disabled. This concern continues to grow as the overall population ages, and as the economic situation requires parents and other adults of the family all out for work and for longer hours. The TeleCare System includes a home-based system which consists of a 24-hour central monitoring system with wireless sensors to non-intrusively monitor indoor activities and identify the abnormal pattern through the lack of activities of the users, and a set of wearable ear-borne and wrist-borne vital sign sensors to continuously monitor real-time heart rate, body temperature, and small body motions around the clock. If any abnormality is detected, the system will automatically activate outgoing links to relevant parties such as physicians, social workers or family members. The TeleCare system also includes a portable device using advanced telecommunication technologies of global positioning, cellular phone and radio-frequency beacon to help accurately and efficiently locate a missing person with dementia in both indoor and outdoor settings. The system would enhance special caring services for the vulnerable, especially those suffering from senile dementia, in the home and community settings.


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, Professor Mak took up an Assistant Professorship in Bioengineering and Orthopedics Research at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Mak joined the Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Center at PolyU in 1988 and was promoted to full professorship in 1995. Professor 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. Professor 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. Professor Mak was the Asia-Pacific Chair of the International Commission for Technology and Accessibility in Rehabilitation International during the period of 1998 – 2004. Professor 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.

Professor Mak has held visiting/adjunct faculty positions at Sichuan University and University of Pittsburgh. In 2005, Professor 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. Professor 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. Professor Mak became Associate Vice President (Academic Development) of the University in 2006.


Plenary Speaker

Dr. Libby Cohen

NIE Visiting Scholar
Professor Emerita at the University of Southern Maine, United States

Plenary: Advances in Technologies Enable Productive Futures for Persons with Disabilities

Download the Microsoft powerpoint presentation (zip file - 363 kB) HERE.


Imagine a future in which learning is engaging, available, and accessible to nearly all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, throughout the globe. This imagined future is now possible because of a rare convergence of recent discoveries in neuroscience research, new conceptualizations of teaching and learning, and the development of current and emerging technologies. As 21st century citizens, persons with disabilities have available to them a range of technologies that support access and success in schools and communities. Advances in technologies include flexible technologies, which can be used across curricula and in multiple teaching and learning contexts; usable technologies that are characterized by features that are easy and intuitive to use; and accessible technologies that are purposefully designed for a broad diversity of individuals, including those with disabilities. In this plenary session, the convergence will be described and examples will be shared including advances in Thailand, made possible through the leadership of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and other leaders in Southeast Asian countries.


Dr. Libby Cohen is a Visiting Professor at the National Institute of Education in Singapore and she is passionate about improving the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities. She is especially interested in teaching methodologies, universal design in education, and using technology to facilitate teaching and learning. She was awarded the title of "Professor Emerita" by the University of Southern Maine in the United States. Dr. Cohen is the author of several articles and books including Assessment of Children and Youth (3rd ed.) and Teaching Students with Learning and Behavior Problems.


Plenary Speaker

Mr. David Dikter

Executive Director, Assistive Technology Industry Association, USA

Plenary: Bringing Assistive Technology to Developing Markets: Hope and Transformation

Download the Microsoft powerpoint presentation (zip file - 2 MB) HERE.


Over the past several years it has become more apparent to developing economies that both the social and economic needs of people with disabilities needs to be addressed more significantly. Assistive Technology is just one part of this puzzle. Throughout the lifespan and the entire family and community there are significant needs that must be met to enable the use of AT. There needs to be a coordinated set of services and supports in place so that every person with a disability has the opportunity and the perceived potential to develop into an independent contributor in society. One of the strongest developments that enables a person with a disability to become successful is the use of Assistive technologies. These technologies have to power to transform lives and this is the reason there is so much emphasis on AT.

Implementing programs and supplying AT to individuals is not as simple as saying we can buy it or supply it. There is a greater infrastructure that must be created to maximize the benefits and change the perception of non-disabled people. This includes training programs for professionals, building awareness among families, consumers and care givers. Working with employers to enhance accessibility at the corporate level to enable future employment. The most important of all is government commitment to fund and support these efforts.

This plenary session will focus on some examples of these types of programs and share how this powerful technology can transform lives every day and in turn transform society to be more inclusive.


David Dikter is the Executive Director of Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA).

He was teaching for 15 years following his graduation from Boston's Wheelock College by teaching elementary school students with disabilities in the Boston public school system and even overseas, at the Frankfurt International School in Germany. His passion for technology was touched off in college and came in the form of an Apple 2 computer. From the beginning, he recalls, "I inherently understood the power of technology as a tool that would enrich my life and the lives of others." Both passions have propelled him through two careers.

He left the classroom, but not teaching, when the city of Boston embarked on an ambitious program to place computers in classrooms. He signed on with Boston's Office of Instructional Technology to manage professional development for teachers experiencing the shock of their first-ever encounter with computers.

Desiring a career opportunity in the for-profit world – "my son had just been born" – he joined a high tech start-up company as a training manager in the waning days of the boom, a move, he says, "that gave me a broader understanding of the business world after all those years in a school system/city government environment." The boom quickly went bust, however, opening the way to his present position as head of the nation's premier trade group for AT manufacturers, providers and sellers.

Mr. Dikter now manages the overall mission of ATIA to bring assistive technology to people with disabilities. He is responsible for all aspects of the ATIA annual conference, public awareness, government education and work on national policy issues as it relates to assistive and accessible technologies. Dikter sits on the W3C-Web Accessibility Initiative Steering Council and works with diverse groups to promote AT and the needs of individuals with disabilities.


Plenary Speaker

Mr. Monthian Buntan

President, Thailand Association of the Blind, Thailand

Plenary: Accessibility Through Universal Design & Assistive Technologies: The Matter of Must in the Rights-based Society

Download the plenary paper (zip file - 7 kB) HERE.


Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) clearly marks the paradigm shift from disability as pathological limitation of each individual to interaction between individual characteristic and external environment/factors. Among general principles toward ensuring full and effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, "accessibility" is one of the most important requirements which make this first human rights convention of 21st century unique and necessary. Meanwhile, the World summit on Information Society (WSIS) documents also suggest that one way of achieving inclusive information society is by global sharing of knowledge through universal design and assistive technologies. It is within the author's opinion that accessibility, through universal design and assistive technologies must be indivisible, inseparable part of the inclusive and rights-based society for all, including persons with disabilities.


Mr. Monthian Bhuntan was born on May 2, 1965 in Phrae Province, Thailand. He is currently the executive director of Thai Blind People's Foundation and also the president of Thailand Association of the Blind.

He took up the Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy at Changmai Univeristy in Thailand and he graduated with honors in Music from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, USA. He has a Masters Degree in Music Theory and Composition from University of Minnesota, USA.

He served as a Committee Member on the Educational Reform for Persons with Disabilities, other Disadvantage groups and gifted children, Ministry of Education from 1999 – 2001. He was also a member of the National Broadcasting Commission Search Committee from 2000 – 2002. In 1999, he founded several organizations in which he is still an active member. The organizations were, Thai National Institute for the Blind where in he is also the Vice Chairperson, Thai Blind People's Foundation in which he is the Secretary, and he is also serving as a coordinator in Thailand National Committee on DAISY Production and Services.

He became a member of the Advisory Committee on Disability to the Prime Minister of Thailand in 2001 until now. He is also currently a member of the Information Technology Committee in the Ministry of Education. In 2002, he became a member of the Executive Committee in the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability and in 2003, he became a representative from the Thai government to the UN ad hoc committee for the elaboration of the UN convention on the rights of the persons with disabilities. In 2004, he was elected as the President of the Thailand Association of the Blind.

Mr Monthian Buntan has received several awards throughout the years. He was awarded as the person who contributes to the betterment of life for the blind by the Takeo Iwahashi Award in 2004. He was also awarded with a Plaque of Honor from the Prime Minister of Thailand in 2001 as an Outstanding Individual whose contributions have made significant improvement to the lives of PWDs in Thailand. In 1995, he received the Most Outstanding Person with Disabilities award in Thailand from the Council on Social Welfare. And in 1998, he was awarded the Outstanding Member of the Year from the Alumni Association of Chiangmai School for the Blind.