A new $9.15 million MedTechVic project at Swinburne University of Technology will push the boundaries of the medical technology sector by enveloping the needs of users and carers in the product design process.
The project will help improve the efficiency and affordability of the supply chain, using Australia’s first Microsoft AR/VR volumetric capture system to create tailored products in a mass production environment.
Among the first projects is a locally-made lightweight, portable ramp attached to wheelchairs to increase a user’s mobility.
“At Swinburne, we are uniquely placed to bring together the best aspects of design, digitisation and human needs to develop and deliver innovative devices to meet increasing global demand,” Swinburne University vice-chancellor and president Professor Pascale Quester said.
MedTechVic will help digitise Victoria’s medical technology industry and encourage collaboration, providing fellowships for clinicians and allied health experts to participate in the manufacturing process.
“This is an incredible project that will have real outcomes for Victorians living with a disability, while also creating great opportunities for local researchers and students – and our thriving local construction industry,” Victorian minister for Higher Education Gayle Tierney said.
The funding will support the refurbishment of a space at the Hawthorn campus, which will begin in November and be completed next year.
The project will create around 65 local jobs in medical technology, research and manufacturing, as well as 12 construction jobs and 21 roles for PhD, Masters and undergraduate students. Additional opportunities will be provided for students to undertake work placements in disability support.
“This partnership strengthens the emerging technology sector here in Hawthorn – providing job and learning opportunities whilst making a practical difference in the lives of people living with a disability,” member for Hawthorn John Kennedy said.
The Victorian government contributed $6.7 million to the project in a joint effort by Swinburne University and its partners. It is one of many pitches from universities to the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, which was developed in response to the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
The Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund is supporting universities with capital works, research infrastructure projects and applied research focused on boosting Victoria’s productivity and economy as the state recovers from the pandemic.