By Narelle Coulter
Berwick software engineer Dr Saiyi Li and his colleagues are using their tech skills to help improve the lives of those with movement disorders.
Dr Li is one of the brains behind tech start-up Bayes Tech, a tele-rehabilitation platform.
Dr Li’s passion and commitment to the project impressed judges who chose Bayes Tech as the winner of the inaugural INNovation Crowd Pitchfest held at Bunjil Place at the end of April.
The Bayes Tech team also includes Dr Wei Yin Leong, an electronics engeineering specialist, and Dr Yee Siong Lee, a data scientist.
“The idea for Bayes Tech originated from our study,“ explained Dr Li.
“During our study, we realised that physiotherapy is important for people with movement disorders, injury and so on. However, some people find it hard to access rehabilitation resources, especially those living in rural areas. So we decided to develop a platform with the hope of helping therapists, patients and everyone who may need it.“
Bayes Tech has three aims: to save therapists time, make tedious rehab exercises fun and improve communication between therapists and patients.
“We take advantage of advanced technology to automatically assess the physical performance of individuals at home similar as that in hospitals and make boring exercises fun, like playing computer games,“ Dr Li explained.
“Therapists can review their patients’ performance and adjust treatment plans anytime, anywhere. More importantly, we try to build a platform that can be easily used by everyone.“
In Australia the number of hospitalisations for rehabilitation care increased from 355,000 in 2013-14 to 455,000 in 2016/17.
Dr Li believes Bayes Tech could significantly reduce these numbers.
“We have seen so many people with movement disorders in different age groups. My grandfather actually suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and could not do many of the activities of daily living,“ Dr Li said.
“It is so sad to see people sitting in a wheelchair but cannot move their bodies. Physiotherapy is helpful to improve their abilities, but the resources are limited. We believe everyone has the right to enjoy a high quality life. Therefore, we try to use our knowledge and skills to develop a platform to provide help to more individuals with such needs and try to optimise the limited medical resources as much as we can.“
The team hope to have the first version of the product launched before the end of the year.
INNovation Crowd leaders Chris Hall and Judy Pridmore are helping mentor the trio.
“It was great to be part of Pitchfest. Pitchfest opened a window to show our idea to the world so that we can get more attention and help, which contributes enormously to our growth.“
Dr Li said one of the most challenging aspects of getting Bayes Tech off the ground was gathering feedback and suggestions from therapists and patients.
“ We are looking for collaboration with therapists in physical rehabilitation section to improve our system as fast as we can.
“In 12 months, we intend to have our pilot program launched and can then start bring benefit to patients and therapists.“
In five years time, Dr Li would like to see the platform used around the world.
“We will collaborate with therapists to provide better physical rehabilitation services to patients and also with research centres to develop better assessments and exercises,“ he said.
“The reason we know it will succeed is because we love what we are doing, we work hard to achieve our outcomes and we believe our product can help many people in need.“