Biomedical Engineering Alumnus David Hobbs was recently awarded a 2016 Flinders University Distinguished Alumni award. We caught up with him and here is what he had to say…
– What year did you graduate from your Biomedical Engineering degree?
I actually started out life as a physicist! I completed my Physics degree (from Flinders) in 1994, worked and travelled for a year, and then returned to Flinders in 1996 to start my Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical) double degree, graduating in 2001. So I ended up studying and completing 3 undergraduate degrees – two in science and one in engineering – over a period of 9 years.
– Where did you work after graduating?
After graduating I worked as a Rehabilitation Engineer at Novita Children’s Services for 9 years, working in Research & Development, Seating & Mobility, and Rehabilitation Equipment Testing. I also spent time working in the disability sector in Canada, the UK and the USA, first as a Churchill Fellow and then a Fulbright Scholar. In 2010 I returned to Flinders as a Biomedical Engineering academic and my research focus is still in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies.
– Why rehabilitation engineering?
Rehabilitation engineering is a brilliant blend of engineering, science, technology, health sciences and medicine. I was attracted to this field because I wanted to help people, particularly those living with a disability. During my work integrated learning or WIL placement, I spent 5 months working in Canada in one of the world’s leading paediatric rehabilitation engineering facilities. I didn’t know about rehabilitation engineering until I did my WIL placement, but I knew then and there that this was the field I wanted to work in when I graduated, and that I wanted to make a difference in the disability and assistive technology sectors.
– What does it mean to you to be recognised with this award?
Flinders has been such a huge part of my life – not only have I studied there, 7 of my family members have studied there and it’s also where I met my wife! It still feels surreal to be recognised like this, but the very institution that educated and trained me, along with many other very distinguished alumni over the years. It’s a very humbling experience because I love my current role at Flinders and I love the work I do in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology. The recognition through this award is terrific, particularly if it can shine a light on how technology can help people with a disability and improve their quality of life.
The Medical Device Research Institute would like to congratulate David on this outstanding (and well deserved) achievement.