Emerson Ysayama specialises in electronic engineering but at the Community Lifestyle Support's AT_Makerspace, he’s known as a ‘technology sorcerer'.
The team of technology sorcerers work within the creative hub alongside allied health professionals and people with a disability to provide solutions through innovation and technology.
Emerson works his magic using technology to solve problems and it’s a talent he’s had since a young age.
From the age of 10, Emerson had a keen interest in how things worked, much to his mother’s distress.
“Since I was a kid I always wanted to open stuff and see how it was inside,” Emerson said.
“Mum hated it. I ruined everything, lots of VCRs, radios, all my toys.
“Then I got good and started fixing stuff and my mother stopped complaining!”
He has turned this interest into a career and is now putting his curious mind to solving the problems of clients at the AT_Makerspace.
“What I do is analyse problems and find a solution.
“For instance, how can you answer the phone without control of the fingers?”
He has recently collaborated with CQUniversity to develop more affordable “micro twitch” technology.
The tech allows the user to control an electronic function with the flex of a muscle. Emerson said at this stage they had proven the concept with a simple on/off function.
“The clinical team found this type of technology is not cheap and available to most of us.
“We have proved you can do it with a cheaper alternative, it didn’t have to have a lot of special gear,” he said.
Collaborative space creating tech solutions
Imagine not being able to control any part of your body except your eyes and then receiving a computer which can be controlled by eye movement.
Those are the types of life-changing outcomes already coming out of the Community Lifestyle Support AT_Makerspace.
Sometimes, like the eye control software, the solutions are off the shelf.
However CLS chief executive Damien Tracey said the AT_Makerspace was recently fitted out to design and develop innovative tech solutions from concept to market.
He said the transition to innovation hub had worked seamlessly for the organisation which had provided allied health services to the Bundaberg Region for 27 years.
Changes to disability funding meant subsidies were available for assistive technology solutions which had the potential to reduce whole of life funding costs.
“There was a gap in the market for custom assistive technology and we felt we were really well positioned to address that gap,” Mr Tracey said.
He said collaboration between the tech centre, allied health professionals and clients was a big part of CLS’s makerspace philosophy.
“It was critical for us to involve the person with a disability in the design process. The co-design model is key.”
Bundaberg Regional Council has provided funding to the AT_Makerspace to assist its development as an innovation hub and allow the team to also focus on agriculture technology.
“The core capability we have with assistive technology actually mapped beautifully across to ag tech.
“We can work in the same co-design model with the agricultural sector to develop a new piece of ag tech.
“In terms of the incubator, we’re trying to bring the entire community together around what is our region’s vision on what we are going to do in the start up and entrepreneurship space,” Mr Tracey said.
The AT_Makerspace is currently offering workshops to the public and Mr Tracey said about the middle of this year he expected it would open more broadly to people interested in accessing the space in a service capacity.