Becky and I had a tour of the new research facility (iDAPT) at Toronto Rehab, today. All I can say is, “wow”! There you go; end of of blog.
Toronto Rehab is a facility that has both inpatient and outpatient facilities to enable people with stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and heart issues, to recover from acute and ongoing concerns. There are three facilities, and we were at the main one in Downtown Toronto. This is a highly simplified explanation as they help many people with many problems. I just can’t list them all here.
Anyway, we headed from the foyer, down four stories to an immense open area, which is hard to believe is underground. There are three pods that are used to simulate different environments. Each pod is about fifteen feet square. One is “winter”, which can be chilled to -10C and made icy. Another is “stair”, which can be set up for different indoor environments.
And, this one here, which is “streetscape”. This can measure responses to visual and auditory distractions from outside. A camera records the entire event as a person walks or wheels their way through Downtown Toronto, although they never actually leave the pod.
Electrodes are stuck on the person which can measure load bearing and movement, so they can tell when a part of the body goes under stress. If that isn’t cool enough, the pods can be picked up and moved. They can be taken into the next room and placed on a hydraulic system.
We headed to the top of the building where they have built a complete apartment/flat.
Patients can try out different equipment, and different equipment can be tried out. Families also get a chance to experiment with their new caregiving responsibilities before their loved one returns home. A catwalk surrounds the area, so people can be unobtrusively observed.
We had a chance to see into the kitchen, which I wanted to bring home. Counter tops moved up and down with the push of a button, setting the perfect height. Can’t reach the cupboards above the counter, no problem, push another button and the interior of the cabinet moves down to the counter. Becky played around in this area for quite a while. I think she was secretly hoping for a cup of coffee.
At this point of the tour, we were asked to sign Confidentiality Agreements, so I can’t tell you about the rest of the tour, which is a shame because it was SO AMAZING!!!! Suffice to say, the area was huge and so was the number of staff.
What surprised me, was that they are bringing actual items from concept to completion. You will be able to buy what they are designing. This is not an “idea” place, they are finding real solutions to everyday problems. It’s open to other scientists and engineers from around the world as well. What a fantastic opportunity to see the future under the streets of Toronto. Way to go, Toronto Rehab; you have created a world class facility in a country whose population is approximately one tenth of the US. Something for all us Canucks to be proud of.