Winter Quarter 2016

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Tuesdays & Thursdays at 4:30pm - 5:50pm
Classroom 110 in Thornton Center

back to homepage

Students' Recommendations, Suggestions, and Advice
Winter 2014

From students' individual reflections:

If I were to take this course again, I would do a variety of things differently. For example, I would start the prototyping step much sooner and make more prototypes. This would be helpful to get more ideas out there and it would lead to a better final design. Another thing I would change, would be to make sure that our entire group was involved and be more assertive if they were not. If they were constantly failing to complete their tasks, I would consider to kicking him of the team so that it would not affect the rest of us. Besides that, I would also try and get more feedback from a wider variety of people so we could get more ideas, some of which we might not even have thought of. In conclusion, I would advise future students of Engr 110/210 to start early and do not be daunted if a project looks daunting. There are a lot of resources to get help: Dave Jaffe, the course TA's, the PRL TA's, the project suggestors, other students in the course and community members. There is never a shortage of them. I would advise to actively seek help because you are going to need it. There are many ideas that you will not be able to see that a fresh pair of eyes can. Most of all, I would advice to pick a project that you really like even if it seems difficult because you're going to be working on it for a whole quarter. In the end, you will come out of the course feeling accomplished because you know that your design could possibly help makes someone's life better and that is always a great feeling.

If I were to redo this class, I would have allocated more time to learning SolidWorks and actually output more designs.

If I were to do this again or make some modifications in the future, which I intend to, I would do some testing with Cathriona [sister with a disability] and get input from my parents to see if any parts need to be moved around or if the shape of the lap tray could be designed better.

While I felt our project was highly successful, there were a couple of improvements our team could have made to have the perfect project. First, my advice to all students would be iterate early and often. Although our final project worked, we were under a lot less stress because we set up a time every week to work on and progress our project. It's amazing what a solid 2-3 hours of work per week can make when making a project over the course of a quarter. Our final prototype still had minor adjustments that could have been avoided with one or two more iterations in the manufacturing process to complete the project. Finally, my last advice to any team is to pick a project you are genuinely interested in, regardless of how much work it may seem.

If I were to do this project again, I would pick a project that had a wider range of possible solutions and had easier access to the user group. I would recommend that students next year take both of these into consideration when choosing a project.

If I could do it all over again, I would start the design process early.

Dear Future Students, START EARLY!! I cannot stress that enough. It was difficult for my team to find wheelchair users that were willing to work with us. Because of this it delayed our project process. Also make sure to make a clear list of what each team member’s task is. This will keep you focused and on track. Also, you can use the list to make sure everyone else is completing their tasks and completing them on time.

If someone asked me for advice on taking the class, I would tell them to prototype early and often, and to talk to as many relevant people as possible.

If I were to go back and do this again, I would take the class my junior year. I'm graduating after this quarter so I do not have the opportunity to continue working on my project next quarter.

If I was going through this process again, there are a few things I would do differently. I would have begun reaching out to potential users to interview a lot earlier. I didn't realize how difficult it was to find a people to interview and get feedback from due to scheduling conflicts. I would have also begun prototyping a lot earlier.

I guess my rant is my attempt to share with future students my advice to not work on projects with friends. Work on it with people who are interested in the same topic, and seem to have the same intentions as you do.

If I were to go through this process again I would talk to more people sooner. Our design progressed rapidly from the advice and perspectives of others and I wish I had utilized the knowledge of others more. My advice to future students is to really explore the problem you are trying to address. I realized that at first I was so focused on coming up with a solution that I failed to recognize where the need actually was. My product design improved significantly when revisited and better understood the problem. It is also important to be willing to do a lot of trial and error in your process. My partner and I had clear idea of the overall mechanism we needed in order to make our swing stabilizing system functional, but we had to consider various prototypes until we found an appropriate solution. Next, it is important to be in constant communication you're your fellow team members; my partner and I were able to cohesively work together because we were always on the same page. Finally, I think what made our design so successful was finding an effective yet simple solution for a product, especially if, like us, the intention is to eventually mass-produce the product. Overall, I had a great time in this class. I was able to learn about an interesting and innovative field, while gaining hands on experience in the design process. It is one of the few classes where I feel like the course has a direct impact outside the classroom.

If I were to go through the process again, I would have interviewed more people in our specified target audience and their caretakers earlier in the process. While we created a product that Anna would find valuable should she ever come across it, it would have been great to collect different perspectives of asthma management from different people. It would have greatly informed our decisions and helped us create something that could appeal to a larger audience. Additionally, I would have utilized Dave and the rest of the teaching staff to a greater extent. There were a few times during the quarter when my team fell into a creative slump. In those situations, it would have been beneficial to reach out to a teaching staff member who could have helped us through that slump. My advice to future students is to be as engaged as possible. ENGR110 is a course where you will take out exactly what you put in. If you dedicate time and energy, you will most likely emerge with a prototype that you are proud of. Additionally, you will gain so much out of the experience simply by interacting with community members and those with disabilities. Perspectives in Assistive Technology provides a safe and open space where people from different backgrounds can learn from each other and grow in the process - it is certainly in one’s best interest to put in time and energy in order to learn as much as possible.

The advice I would give students is to think big, but to not be afraid if the solution ends up being small. One thing I do wish is that I used the class as an opportunity to dive into a field I did not know as much about.

I think I would try to do more interviews at the beginning of the quarter. I would also work on more prototypes early on. I think time is always a valuable thing at Stanford and I would try to make better use of it if I could do this quarter over again

I think the main advice that I would give to next year's students is to pick something you'll enjoy even if it doesn't sound as cool. Because my project was very simple but I enjoyed working on it. Although most people want to pick the project that will sound the most impressive, I would suggest that they just go with something that they would have fun working on.

Previous years' suggestions

2013  2012

Updated 09/18/2015

Back to Homepage

back to homepage