Image: Doctor Tom ChauImage: Child playing

Bloorview Research Institute

News: Dr. Tom Chau makes Canada’s Top 40 under 40

Bloorview biomedical engineer honoured

Globe and Mail story on Chau – May 8, 2021

Toronto – May 8, 2021 – Imagine your child has disabilities that prevent him from speaking or moving, making every day a guessing game as you try to intuit his needs.

Dr. Tom Chau – a scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute – is training a computer chip to decode your child’s brain signals and breathing patterns, allowing your child to activate electronic speech or household devices simply by thinking about them or taking a deep breath.

Dr. Chau is being recognized today as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 by the Globe and Mail.

The program recognizes Canadian leaders, rating nominees in the areas of vision and leadership; innovation and achievement; impact; community involvement and contribution; and growth and development strategy.

Dr. Chau develops breakthrough technologies that enable children with disabilities to express themselves, control their environment and participate in regular childhood activities.

“He’s been a lightning rod for cross-disciplinary research at Bloorview – bringing together diverse disciplines and attracting industry partners to collaborate in creating real-world solutions for kids with disabilities,” says Dr. Colin Macarthur, director of the Bloorview Research Institute.

With Dr. Chau’s virtual instrument, children with severe disabilities in eight countries learn music using the Suzuki method – waving their hands or blinking an eye to activate coloured balls on a screen, each sounding a different note. It’s often their first experience with music – and success.

Dr. Chau’s lightweight neckband – on its way to market – detects throat vibrations that signal aspiration, giving children and adults with life-threatening swallowing problems a choking-prevention tool.

His unique training program at the Bloorview Research Institute attracts top graduate students from around the world.

Working in a rehab hospital gives the students “exposure beyond the academic dimension of disability to the human dimension,” says Dr. Chau, who is also director of the prestigious clinical engineering program at the University of Toronto.

To be connected with expert sources, contact:

Louise Kinross, Manager, Communications
Tel: 416-424-3866
Pager: 416-589-8826
E-mail: media at bloorview dot ca

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