Winter Quarter 2012

 Perspectives in Assistive Technology 

David L. Jaffe, MS and Professor Drew Nelson
Tuesdays & Thursdays   4:15pm - 5:30pm
Building 530 - Classroom 127

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Task Summary

Team Project Tasks:

Mid-term Assignment:
  • Review candidate project offerings from the handout or webpage
  • Note interesting projects
  • Form a team of no more than three
    Considerations for Team Formation and Project Selection:
    • Project preference - All team members should have a desire to work on the same project.
    • Undergraduate / graduate student - It would be best if all team members were either undergraduate or graduate students as this makes it easier to continue projects into the Spring Quarter.
    • Desire to continue project work into Spring Quarter - Ideally, all team members should commit to continue their project effort into the Spring Quarter.
    • Team's engineering skill set - Match the team's expertise with the needs of the project, including shop / lab experience and fabrication ability.
    • Team members' course load - All team members should be able to devote sufficient time to the project.
    • Personality - There should be a compatible mix of personalities on the team.
  • Consider interesting projects as a team
  • Decide on a team project - inform instructor of selection
  • Contact the individual who suggested the project
  • Acquire information on underlying problem and need
  • Investigate project needs with an individual with a disability, caregivers, family members, health-care professionals
  • Evaluate the needs to further define and specify the project parameters
  • Gather relevant background information for the project, including any prior design approaches and existing commercial products
  • Brainstorm, evaluate, and select a design concept
End-of-term Assignment:
  • Prototype, fabricate, test, assess the result - iterate the process
  • Present team’s design - giving background, criteria, initial concepts from brainstorming, selected design candidate, and any prototyping, fabrication, and testing
  • Submit an end-of-term final report and Individual Reflection on the project experience
  • Meet and communicate with instructor on project progress
  • Attend lectures as required

Individual Project Tasks:

  • Attend at least 10 lectures, including the first lecture, Introduction to Assistive Technology.
  • Meet with the course instructor to agree on an assistive technology project and to report progress during the quarter.
  • Interview an individual with a disability or senior, consisting of a overview of the individual's life, challenges being faced, successes achieved, desires for the future.
  • Review of assistive technology employed, their usefullness and limitations, problems experienced, and similar products on the market.
  • Focus on one of these two activities that benefits the interviewed senior or individual with a disability:
    • Research an assistive technology topic - report on new products and research under development that have the potential to benefit the interviewed senior or person with a disability.
    • Pursue a "paper design" of an assistive technology device - develop a CAD design or a "low resolution" physical device built from foam-core or other prototyping material.
    • Create a work of art - create an original poem, song, skit, painting, or video. (This option would be of particular interest to students who have skills and expertise other than engineering.)
  • Give a final presentation of about 15 minutes in length to be scheduled outside of class time during the week of March 5th that includes PowerPoint slides, photographs, and short videos as described here.
  • Submit a final report that documents the entire quarter's effort and addresses the elements described here. Individual final reports are due Monday, March 12th.
  • Submit an Individual Reflection as described here. Individual reflections are due Monday, March 19th.

Pre-lecture Class Discussions:

  • Be attentive
  • Absorb / understand / analyze
  • Formulate opinions
  • Contribute to discussion

Guest Lectures:

  • Be attentive
  • Absorb / understand / analyze
  • Ask questions


  • Mid-term team presentation and report
  • End-of-term team presentation and report
  • Individual Reflection
  • In-class discussions and lecture questions

Updated 10/04/2011

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