Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Technology Tuesday

The spring semester is coming to a close, and for us at Imagine!, that means another opportunity to share projects created by University of Colorado Engineering students in a class taught by Associate Professor Melinda Piket-May.

For the past eight years, students in these classes have worked on projects to design adaptive technologies to aid increased independence for some of the individuals Imagine! serves. This past Saturday, the students presented their projects at the Engineering Projects Expo. Student projects designed to assist individuals served by Imagine! (and others with disabilities) that were debuted at the event included:

Various Interfaces With Smart Home Devices 
Products like Google Home or Amazon Echo and Alexa can use verbal commands to operate any number of household devices or control entertainment options. However, there is still a gap for individuals who are non-verbal, as these devices may not be able to “understand” the commands. Several projects were designed to improve the ability of non-verbal individuals to access these devices.

Automated Wago Opener
Wago products are designed for electronic interfaces. Imagine!’s CORE/Labor Source department provides staffing for GE Lighting, which uses these Wago products. The device created by the students allows one of the employees who has limited range of motion in his arms to effectively and efficiently open the Wagos at GE, making him a more productive employee.

Panic Button
A low cost alert system to be used in Imagine! group homes or other residences.

Musical Shopping Cart 
Designed for an individual with limited motor skills who is encouraged to push a shopping cart around in order to improve his physical fitness. Since the individual tended to get bored just pushing the cart around, this project added a musical component to the cart to make the exercise more interesting and rewarding.

Our good friends at Oskar Blues Brewery provide employment for individuals served by Imagine! who make Oskar Blues “Can Bling” – necklaces with a beer can with the top removed for use at events such as beer festivals. However, connecting the necklaces to the beer can can be difficult for those with a limited range of motion. The Twister-O-Matic makes that process much easier, therefore making for more productive employees.

iPad Wheelchair Arm
Designed for a woman served by Imagine! who uses a wheelchair for mobility, and doesn’t have the range of motion required to use an iPad while in her chair. This arm make it possible for her to do so.

Adaptive Locker Opener
Designed for an elementary school student with limited mobility, the button makes it much easier to open his locker independently.

Data Tracking Device
This was designed to track noises made by a non-verbal individual to gather data to help caregivers better understand the individual’s needs. The hope is the data will allow caregivers to correlate certain sounds with specific needs, it will decrease outbursts and allow the individual to better communicate with those around her.

Automatic Door Opener
Designed for an individual who uses a wheelchair and whose limited range of motion means she can't access standard accessible door opener buttons. This device "speaks" to the door, allowing the individual to open it using a button attached to her wheelchair.

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