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AASQA and ePAT take out prestigious awards

The Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) has won the Most Impactful Social Benefit Award at the prestigious WA Information Technology and Telecommunications Alliance (WAITTA) Incite Awards. The awards showcase Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovation and excellence.

The AASQA, which was officially launched on Wednesday 6 April 2016, is a social innovation initiative with the vision of harnessing the unique talents of people with autism spectrum, and utilising them in the ICT industry, for the collective benefit of those with autism, industry and the wider community. It is the first initiative of its kind in Australia.

Professor Torbjorn Falkmer, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, and Associate Professor Tele Tan, Department of Mechanical Engineering accepting the award.
Professor Torbjorn Falkmer, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, and Associate Professor Tele Tan, Department of Mechanical Engineering, accepting the award.

This initiative simultaneously meets the social inclusion needs of people with autism and the business needs of the Australian ICT industry, which faces challenges in attracting and retaining software testers. Utilising the recognised strengths and talents of individuals with autism, namely their extreme attention to detail, appreciation of predictability and capacity to focus, the AASQA aims to meet this market driven need for Australian industry.

The inaugural Director of the AASQA is Professor Torbjorn Falkmer, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, and the Deputy Director is Associate Professor Tele Tan, Department of Mechanical Engineering. The AASQA is currently located, as a guest tenant, at Curtin’s Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre.

Also recognised at the awards was Mustafa Atee, School of Pharmacy,  who was a National iAwards Finalist in the Best Student Project of the Year Award for the ePAT (electronic Pain Assessment Tool) app for dementia.

ePAT is a point of care app, designed for smart devices, which uses facial recognition technology to detect in real-time facial micro-expressions indicative of the presence of pain. These data are then combined with other non-facial pain cues, such as vocalisations, movements and behaviours, which are also captured through the app, to allow the automatic calculation of a pain severity score.

Mustafa Atee and Professor Jeff Hughes, School of Pharmacy, at the awards.
Mustafa Atee and Professor Jeff Hughes, School of Pharmacy, at the awards.

ePAT will be useful for patients with cognitive impairment, especially those with dementia whose pain often goes undetected due to communication issues. The team has also designed a version of the app for young children. The ePAT project is led by Professor Jeff Hughes, School of Pharmacy.

The awards were held on Friday 24 June 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Perth Hotel. All winners and finalists will represent Western Australia at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) National iAwards, which will be held in Melbourne in September 2016.