Professor Son Lam Phung

UOW awarded two prestigious KONEKSI Research Collaborative Grants

UOW awarded two prestigious KONEKSI Research Collaborative Grants

Grants aimed at improving the lives of vision-impaired individuals and the elderly

Professor Son Lam Phung from the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) has been awarded two major research grants from the KONEKSI Research Collaborative Grant – Digital Transformation. These grants, totalling $687,720 will fund groundbreaking projects aimed at improving the lives of vision-impaired individuals and mitigating fall risks among the elderly.

KONEKSI is an initiative between the Government of Australia and the Government of Indonesia to promote partnerships for inclusive and sustainable policy and technology. Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Digital Transformation priority research theme of KONEKSI focuses on enhanced wellbeing in healthcare, sustainable food systems and blue economy, energy efficiencies and transition to renewables.

Portable Low-cost AI-guided Tool for Assistive Navigation of Vision-impaired People (PLAN)

The PLAN system is designed to transform the lives of vision-impaired people by enhancing their mobility and safety.

“Indonesia is home to approximately 1 million blind people, while Australia has about 575,000 individuals living with vision impairment,” Professor Phung said.

“This project leverages the latest advances in artificial intelligence and computer vision to transform digital assistive technologies for the visually impaired. The proposed technology will enable users to navigate more safely and independently for their daily activities.

“We look forward to collaborating with our partners, Telkom University, Vision Australia, and Blind Moms Foundation Indonesia, to bring these innovations to life.”

The project team includes UOW Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences researchers Dr Hoang Thanh Le, Associate Professor Le Chung Tran, Distinguished Professor Willy Susilo, Senior Professor Abdesselam Bouzerdoum, Associate Professor Raad Raad, and Dr Fok Tivive. The project also involves Ms Rhiannon McLeish from Vision Australia, who is a vision-impaired user and a UOW recent graduate.

An Innovative System of Fall Risk Mitigation in the Elderly to Improve Their Life Expectancy

The second grant awarded to Professor Phung and Dr Hoang Thanh Le aims to develop a new system for detecting and mitigating fall risks in elderly people.

“Falls are a significant cause of injury and mortality among the elderly population,” Professor Phung said.

“This innovative system will employ advanced sensor technology and machine learning algorithms to continuously monitor elderly individuals for potential fall hazards.

“The system will detect fall risks and provide timely alerts to caregivers or healthcare providers, thereby enhancing the quality of life and longevity of the elderly.”

More details about the grants can be found on KONEKSI’s website:


UOW is committed to addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a shared blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone. The KONEKSI grants addresses Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing, which ensures healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.