Educational Resource Supplier of the Latest Technologies for Effective Learning [Interview][Transcript]

Health-Supplier-Segment-Brainary-InteractiveGuest: Jonathan Kingsley
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Jonathan is the Sales & Marketing Manager at The Brainary, a supplier of cutting-edge assistive technology and therapeutic resources. He has considerable experience working with educators and clinicians to provide technology solutions that add to and enhance practice. This year, he was part of a team that successfully received funding from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to conduct research into the ‘NAO’ humanoid robot’s applications in paediatric rehabilitation. Jonathan is also completing an Executive Master of Arts at the University of Melbourne.”

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, know more about the latest educational resources available today for all ages as we are joined by Brainary Interactive Sales and Marketing Manager Jonathan Kingsley. Established in 2001, educational resource supplier The Brainary® has created Brainary Interactive® which supplies the latest inclusive learning technologies to Australian and New Zealand schools, service providers, individuals, and families. It focuses on new technology and learning as well as products for rehabilitation and people with disabilities. One of their products is the NAO Robot which is a friendly, small, cute and measures 58-cm tall and assists with the development and progress of science and technology education.


Health Professional Radio – Brainary Interactive

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. My guest today joining me on the phone from Australia is Jonathan Kinsley. Now Jonathan is the Sales and Marketing Manager of the Brainary and he is here to tell us what the Brainary is and what they do. Jonathan welcome to Health Professional Radio.

Jonathan Kingsley: Thanks Wayne.

W: Now it’s not a corporate name that immediately sort of tells me what it is you do or where you do it, can you fill us in on what your business organization does? And where you do it, the geographical footprint?

J: Certainly. So the Brainary is a company, it’s about 15 years old. And that we’re an Australia and in New Zealand supplier of educational resources and technology. And we also cover the health sector as well. We’re based in Geelong Victoria, just outside Melbourne. But we operate Australia wide and New Zealand wide and also to Singapore as well.

W: That’s good because we’ve got listeners in Singapore and in New Zealand and in Australia so that’s the perfect match.

J: Fantastic.

W: Now you say you work in the health sector, what it is that you provide?

J: So we’ve got a range of technology, much of it is “assistive technology” as well as a few pieces that are really useful in rehab and helping children on the autism spectrum. So we are this Australian and in New Zealand distributer for them “NOA humanoid robots.” So that spelled N A O but pronounced “NAO.” And the NAO robot is a French humanoid robot that’s been designed for research and education. But we found that it’s got lot of wonderful applications for the health sector as well. Would you like me to go into more depth on NAO?

W: Yeah, it’s a bit intriguing. Tell us a bit about that.

J: Okay. So I might start by telling you about one of our most recent projects. We recently won a grant from the Transport Accident Commission based in Victoria. The grant’s around improving rehabilitation services to people who have been in motor accidents and have acquired brain injuries and/or spinal cord injuries.

W: Uh huh.

J: And basically we’ve got a trial site at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and we partnered with Swinburne University of technology to actually help us program the robot based on the rehabilitation requirements of PGO’s and Occupational Therapists at the hospital.

W: There is a picture of this robot physically, is that humanoid?

J: It is. Yes, so humanoid as in it’s got two legs, it’s got arms, head and it’s got joints but move in a way that very much represents humans.

W: Uh huh.

J: It’s got 25 degrees freedom, which is quite a lot for a robot and enough to really kind of knew the degrees of freedom that our human bodies have. I think we have about a thousand degrees in our human bodies but this robot can do most of the gross motor skills that we can.

W: Umm intriguing.

J: Yes. So what we we’re actually doing in the hospital is with one particular client the robot has been programed to teach a child how to do bridges. So the robot will lie down on its back and the child will lie next to it with on an exercise mat. And the robot will give verbal instructions and then demonstrate the exercise for the child to complete with it.

W: I hadn’t thought of a robot as an instructor in that field.

J: Yeah. And the anecdotal results we’ve had so far have been tremendous.

W: Uh, very interesting.

J: Yes. So I suppose in that space as well we’ve also got some specialist software that was actually developed at a hospital in Calgary in Canada, based around specific medical procedures as well. So we’ve actually had the robot programed and we’ve worked with a company their software called MEDI, so M E D I. And basically the robot gets programed to walk through from thru certain medical procedures that they’re having. So one example, for example is that the robot will explain to a child what happens when they have a vaccination or when they’re getting a blood test. And the robot will actually stay with the child when they’re having the procedure and coach them through it.

W: Now and do you have any at least anecdotal evidence of how children respond in a robot doing that?

J: Yes, so there’s actually got a few research papers written on this application. So it’s a bit further down the track than our Royal Children’s trial in Melbourne so there is quite a bit of evidence. And I think I might not be quite right here, but I think there’s between a 50 to 80% reduction in pain associated with these procedures when the child’s got the robot as opposed to without the robot.

W: Ah, extraordinary result.

J: Yeah, so that’s really cutting edge. And these kind of projects as far as we’re aware of are a world’s first.

W: Yes, I haven’t heard of them before. And Jonathan beyond the robot, are there other health interventions that you make?

J: So we don’t actually make theses products. What we do is work with companies to basically partner up such as partnering with Swinburne University, so connecting the hardware with the software developers. But we do distribute a range of technology that we import from various countries. So we work with the product called “TAPit.” Which is T A P I T so you know as in tapping something. And it’s actually a disability specific learning station that’s been designed by a team of occupational therapists, PGOs in the states to make what was traditionally an interactive white board that would be pretty convalescence stuck on the wall, much more accessible for students with physical disabilities.

W: Right.

J: And it’s really targeted around kids with cerebral palsy and other physical conditions. And we’ve also found that it’s got some really great uses in rehabilitation too.

W: Yes, I can imagine it would.

J: Yeah. So it’s fully by the rise and adjust in terms of height and talk to accommodate just about any child. And it’s also built with that medical grade locking caster wheels so that it can be move around easily when it’s in a hospital setting, in a ward. And it’s anti-microbial as well so it meets all of these hospital specifications.

W: And are there any other products Jonathan?

J: I guess. So we also work with “EyeTech” which is a range of eye-tracking equipment. And it basically allows people with upper level spinal cord injuries to control computers.

W: Okay. That’s the sort of things we see often on television but it’s commercial grade and accessible right now.

J: It is yes. So which it’s really quite futuristic technology but it’s available right now. And we’re supplying them to a lot of schools and health providers already.

W: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my guest is Jonathan Kingsley Sales and Marketing Manager of the Brainary. And we’ve been talking about some of their products and services. And some of them I have to say sound like the future, but you can acquire them right here and now. Jonathan a lot of our audience are clinicians, about 95% of our audience are clinicians of kind another often in acute care and in aged care. Is there a message you’d like them to hear today as a result of you being with us on Health professional Radio?

J: Yeah, I suppose I’d just like them make them aware of what is possible and we piece the technology likes the NAO robot. I supposed what we’re seeing is which the advancement of robotic at the moment, things that we never thought are possible are becoming possible. And we’ve got really innovative ways to kind of differentiate therapies and really motivate patients to achieve you know goals that might not have been as easily achievable.

W: Uh huh.

J: I’d really urge my guess to start looking to some of these technologies because I think not just robotics that technology in general the way is advancing, is really providing really liberating people with significant physical disabilities, all rehab needs.

W: Yes, the problem that clinicians always talk about is that there’s so much to give up today on, and so much reading to do professionally. And then on the other side of the coin, lots of people I talk too have great and innovative products that they want to get into the clinicians’ hands. And they always say clinicians are so hard to access, so difficult and expensive to get out an awareness message in front of them. So today we’ll see if we can help a little bit with the Brainary. Jonathan my favorite question in every interview is about misconceptions and there are misconception in every field and in every activity. What’s the misconceptions amongst your customers, and clients, and maybe patients, and users that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

J: Well I supposed firstly we’re pretty lucky at the Brainary and that we’ve got some pretty amazing technology, so it doesn’t generally keep me up at night. However I suppose there are a few small things. I suppose the one thing that I’ve probably talk about is with the NAO robot in particular, because a lot of people firstly aren’t aware of how advance robotic technology is becoming. And also haven’t been exposed to it before, when we’re demonstrating the robotic it takes people quite a long time to get their head around just what is possible. And in some respects, it’s really only limited by your imagination as to how you could apply this technology and really provide benefits to patients. But I suppose one of the frustrating elements is actually conveying that benefit and having people think outside the square and work at how they could use this and how it really can improve the services that they currently offer. And I suppose one element in particular is this robot having such a human form and when you see it in action, you will notice that it moves a bit like a person and it sways from side to side and that it looks like it breathes and that makes you really think of it as an … itself. We find that people project human like conceptions of memory and emotions on the robot, when at the end of the day these are machine and there is programing behind it. So really conveying to people that if they want the robot to do a specific thing, that it does need to be programed in that way, I think that’s a key message.

W: Ah so maybe you need a demonstration robot that is the nasty nanny that misbehaves, and shouts at people or something.

J: (Laugh)

W: So they get that idea.

J: (Laugh)

W: It’s so easy to do that process of putting personality on the machines. You know my mother has a I guess she’d call it a “toy cat or teddy bear cat” that breathes. It has a battery in it and it inhale and exhales and it’s filled up and it looks like it’s asleep. And because it has that human like characteristic of breathing, so many, many people attribute it with human like or with cat like characteristics. They want to pat it, and they want to stroke it and so on and so forth because it looks like it’s alive. So I can certainly understand how you would do that with a robot that looks like it’s a person.

J: Yeah on the flip side I think it’s also one of the main attractions and reasons why this product is so beneficial as well because people do develop a relationship with it and are really drawn to interact with it. And I think that’s one of the important things particularly with children, it can really stimulate children to do things that a clinicians would really have trouble doing themselves.

W: Yeah, it’s a fascinating field of research and it’s nice to know that it’s available. And we should just mention in closing Jonathan, because we are running out of time. How can people get in touch with you?

J: Okay, so people can contact us via our website, we’ve got an online contact form. It’s Brainary spelled BRAIN as in the head A R Y interactive dot com ( and their welcome to go on there and check our products. Alternatively they can give us a call on our office, we’re happy to talk to anytime and our phone number is 03-5298-1176. And that’s in Australia, so might need the + (plus) 61 at the start if you’re internationally based.

W: I’ll just give that website again because I’m always getting into trouble with listeners and for not giving enough warning, they don’t have their pencils ready. So fair warning listeners it’s and that’s one word spelled B R A I N A R Y I N T E R A C T I V E My guest this morning has been Jonathan Kingsley Sales and Marketing Manager at the Brainary and he has been talking about a range of products that I’m just going to mention them because some of them do have funny spelling – the “NAO robot,” spelled N A O robot, also “TAPit” spelled T A P I T and “EyeTech” spelled E Y E T E C H. If you’re interested in any of those, head off to the website, have a look or all means get in touch with Jonathan. Jonathan It’s been a pleasure talking to you this morning, I do appreciate your time.

J: Thanks very much Wayne. I appreciate you having me on the show.

W: My pleasure. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar and I’ve been in conversation with Jonathan Kingsley as I mentioned, from the Brainary. The good news is if you’ve missed our chat, we have a transcript on our website. You can also hear the interview again we have a sound archive at both YouTube and SoundCloud. All of those resources available at the Health Professional Radio website at You’re listening to Health Professional Radio, my name is Wayne Bucklar.