Assistive Tech Hub


Welcome to the Assistive Tech Hub at UNSW - a collaborative and innovative space dedicated to developing life-changing assistive technology. At the core of our approach is co-creation, where end-users are valued as co-creators rather than clients. We bring together end-users, engineers and students throughout all stages of the design process, from conception to completion.

Our mission is to break down barriers and create solutions that can greatly improve the quality of life for people facing unique challenges and circumstances. We believe that by working together, we can create technology that truly makes a difference. We are excited to welcome you to our Hub and look forward to exploring the possibilities of assistive technology with you.



Our work


The team embarked on an exciting project to create a customised rowing prosthetic for a para-rower at the Community Rowing Club. The prosthetic consisted of two key elements: a specially designed attachment for the rower's arm to ensure a secure grip on the oar and an ingenious oar-rotation mechanism that skilfully squared and feathered the oar with each stroke. Throughout the process, the team maintained a strong focus on the rower's needs, engaging in an iterative design and testing process. It was a collaborative effort that involved constant refinement and adjustments to ensure the prosthetic not only met but exceeded the rower's expectations. Overall, we were able to deliver a functional prosthetic that allows the para-rower to be eligible for the Paralympic Games qualifications.


Matilda rowing



Jack is an incredible guy and a talented rower. He also has a disability that means he can only row with one oar (rowing sweep), with a long-time goal of his being to row with two (rowing scull), which would allow him to compete in a host of new rowing events. To help him achieve this goal, we were tasked with developing a prosthetic that would give him the l ability to row with a second oar. Thus started a project and a partnership of several years that saw a team of engineers working on Jack's and another rower, Matilda's, prosthetics. Brainstorming many ideas, developing a new custom oar grip and an automatic oar rotation mechanism, iterating and testing the design over and over again, expanding our skills as engineers, almost capsizing in a row boat ourselves, and finally watching Jack use what we built to row with two oars. Helping Jack achieve his goal was an adventure, one I'm sure all of us would undertake again.


Jack rowing


RehabEng Workshop Series: Switch Adapted Toy

RehabEng is a meaningful component of UNSW's ChallENG program. It offers our students a unique chance to engage in impactful, hands-on assistive technology projects with real-world outcomes. Our latest endeavour revolves around the right for every child to have equal access and opportunities to play with toys. In today's market, many toys require children to push or squeeze buttons or objects to activate lights or sounds. Unfortunately, for children with disabilities or limited finger and arm mobility, this simple act can present significant challenges and frustrations. Through our switch adapted toy workshop series, we aim to foster inclusivity and accessibility during playtime for all children. We recognize that existing adapted toys available in stores or through specialised services tend to be costly and often lack inclusive switches. We believe that parents and families should have more affordable options.

Our mission is to adapt a wide variety of toys while developing inexpensive switch alternatives. By doing so, we empower children with disabilities to independently operate and engage with toys. This approach not only teaches them about cause and effect relationships but also fosters the development of vital motor, cognitive, linguistic, and social interaction skills. We understand the importance of play in a child's growth and development. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities, has the chance to learn, thrive, and experience joy through play. At RehabEng, our commitment lies in building a more inclusive world, one toy at a time. We invite you to join us in our meaningful mission to make playtime accessible for all children.



Chadi Abi Fadel (end user): As a partner in the ENGG3060 [AT Hub] course, I'm honoured to provide a testimonial that not only highlights the exceptional teaching and societal impact of this program but also reflects on its impact on my personal journey and the future careers of its students. 

Engaging with ENGG3060 was a key moment in my quest to reconnect with music, despite my disability. The course combined engineering skills, creativity, and empathetic understanding and helped create the ventiola: a violin designed for me to play again despite my tremor. This milestone, celebrated in my recent LinkedIn post, has garnered acclaim from my violin professor, who considers it as a significant achievement in my musical journey. The design’s flexibility for future iterations was particularly commended, highlighting the course's emphasis on sustainable innovation. 

Moreover, the project’s impact extends beyond personal triumphs. An accessibility advocate recognized its potential, underscoring the societal relevance of the ventiola. There's growing interest from a wider audience, including those without disabilities, eager to learn if this invention will be launched in the market. This response illustrates the course's influence, transcending conventional academic boundaries and fostering real-world applications. 

My experience with the students was nothing short of beautiful. Their dedication, creativity, and empathy were not just key to our project's success but also indicative of the valuable skills they are acquiring for their future careers. These students are being shaped into professionals who will carry forward a blend of technical acumen and a deep understanding of societal needs. 

This course, therefore, is a pioneer of innovative education, significantly impacting individuals and society, with its unique approach in marrying technical skills with empathy and societal awareness.


Laurence Boss (student): Working on this project with Jack has genuinely been one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic journey. Classes and labs are one thing but seeing myself and my team put the knowledge and skills we acquired from those classes and developed through this project into practice, and have it really go towards helping a real person. It made all those late nights stressing about the next quiz that goes towards 5% of my mark feel worth it. It's not everyday you get to actually make a difference and become a better engineer in the process.


Barabara Ramjan (community rowing president): When I was asked to contact you several years ago, I was thrilled. You were running a program that offered innovative solutions to complex problems involving disability and community engagement. I never expected the profound changes your program would bring.

Your students have worked one on one to provide answers for a rower with cerebral palsy, a rower with limb deficiency and a rower with both a shortened leg and fused ankle. This year we are eager to be working iteration two of the fused ankle project and a new one involving a leg limb deficiency which involves remoulding a seat, understanding the biomechanics of the hip/ missing leg movement and weight disposition in the boat because of the leg deficiency. These all sound like one off answers, but in fact are answers developed by your students through your invaluable program that allows anyone with these issues to safely and fully row and to do so at the elite level. 

Your innovative program, your enthusiastic students, and your ability to fund these designs to bring them to life have brought enormous change to our members. It has allowed them to be as engaged and able as their non impaired squad rowers. 

I don’t think I can ever explain to you how important your work is, how much change and joy it has brought to our members so far and how much more these innovations will bring to rowers across the world.

I hope I have been able to express what your hub means to those with impairments and that you and your students continue to understand that the work they do changes lives, enhances both psychological and physical lives and allows them to remain active and full members of their chosen sport.


Gabriel Gaterol Nisi (Makerspace Technical Officer): To give the opportunity to students to work in projects that have a tangible impact on peoples’ lives – and for them to see this impact – is the most efficient way to experience the real potential of engineering. AT Hub enables this, and more.


Prof Maurice Pagnucco (Deputy Dean of Education): A transformative initiative connecting students with individuals with disabilities to co-design bespoke technology that breaks barriers and empowers individuals with personalised solutions. This program is a true testament to the power of empathy, innovation, and collaboration, and I couldn't be prouder to support it. 


Mel Wimborne (Makerspace Manager): Co-design underpins everything the Assistive Tech Hub does. From project selection to materials to function, every prototype is made to solve a real world problem that the client has identified as essential to them. The benefit to both students and clients who work on Assistive Tech projects is life changing, students come to understand the value of consultation and testing when prototyping and clients learn to be the project managers for their own solutions.


Our team

Elif Kuecuektas (Rehab Engineer)

Lauren Kark (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering)

Tahlia Theodorou (Senior Project Officer)


Get involved

For students who wish to learn more about how they can become involved with AT Hub, click here.

If you would like to get in touch with us about potential opportunities to collaborate with the AT Hub or to join our team, please email




Contact us

If you would like to get in touch with us, please email