Winter Quarter 2017

          
Perspectives in Assistive Technology
ENGR110/210

          

David L. Jaffe, MS
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:30pm to 5:50pm
Thornton Center Classroom 110

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Candidate Individual Projects - 2017

Individual Projects are designed to be less time-consuming for a student whose schedule does not permit working on a team-based project but wishes to receive a letter grade and one credit unit. Students working on an individual project must meet with the course instructor during the second week of classes to discuss and agree upon the specifics of the project. Also see Required Course and Individual Project Activities.


General Information on Individual Projects

Focus on one of these activities that relate to or would potentially benefit an older adult or individual with a disability:

  1. Research an assistive technology topic - report on new products and research under development.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.)

  4. Engage in an aftermarket aesthetic design - select an existing assistive product that could benefit from a better appearance, contact the manufacturer, and work with a user of the device to improve its aesthetic appeal.

  5. Engage in an aftermarket functionality / usability design - select an existing assistive product that could benefit from a better functionality or usability, contact the manufacturer, and work with a user of the device to improve its functionality or usability.

  6. Consider one of the projects listed below.

Individual Projects:     Small red dot - new or updated project description for 2017

Small red dot Danny's Dresser
Small red dot Fun at the Beach
Small red dot Project for Solomon
Small red dot Simple Games for Children with Austim
Small red dot Durable Medical Equipment Projects
Small red dot Crossing the Street
Small red dot Wheelchair Accessible Swing
Small red dot Walk About Project for Tom
Device(s) for Holding & Manipulating
Projects for Nearpod
1. Lesson Design for a Grade School Student with a Disability
2. VR for Enhanced Instruction
3. VR for Improved Empathy
4. Vision Impairment Simulator
User Survey of Power Wheelchair Desireable Feature and Capabilities
Projects employing inexpensive voice-recognition technology
Pooper scooper for canine companions of wheelchair users
Project employing the Microsoft Kinect Controller
Household Tasks Project
Shower / Bathtub / Sink / Toilet Cleaning Project
Individual Projects Suggested by the Ideation Workshop Senior User Insights Panel - 7 projects
Individual Projects for Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury
Projects suggested by the SCI Peer Support Group:
Manipulating objects - 7 projects
Accessing the real-world - 12 projects
Recreational activities - 2 projects
Caregiver (nurse and therapist) assistance - 1 project
Projects suggested by an SCI therapist - 5 projects
Specific Individual Projects
Accessibility Survey
Customize a Cane or Walker or Wheelchair
Customize a Whill Wheelchair
User-friendly Android App
Age-Appropriate Learning Material
Age-Appropriate Sensory Engagement
Other Individual Projects
Accessible interfaces for commonly-used devices
Toys for kids with disabilities
Projects benefitting children with Autism
Projects benefitting parents with disabilities
Projects supporting equal access to extracurricular sports activities for students with disabilities
Assistive technology project defined by Google[x]
Software projects suggested by Project: Possibility
Revisit projects listed in NSF guide
Student-defined Individual Projects
Activities of Daily Living
Sports and Exercise
Leisure Activities and Hobbies

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Small red dot  Danny's Dresser

Background: Danny has cerebral palsy and a cortical vision impairment. He uses a manual wheelchair to get around.

Problem: Danny's current dresser is challenging for him to use:

  1. the contents of the top and bottom drawers are difficult to reach
  2. opening the drawers is a two-handed operation which requires pulling on two small knobs on the left and right side of each drawer
  3. opening the drawers requires considerable physical exertion

Aim: Explore designs for a dresser for Danny so he can be independent in accessing his clothes.

Design Criteria:

  1. drawers must be easy to grab and operate both in opening and closing
  2. the clothes must be accessible - at the proper height for a manual wheelchair user

Links:


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Small red dot  Fun at the Beach

Jessa at he beach in a beach wheelchair

Background: Jessa is an extremely active 8 year old girl who happens to have one leg and a twin sister who she constantly chases.

Problem: When Jessa's family vacationed at the beach over the holidays, Jessa used a "regular beach wheelchair". It didn't fit in the car, was not able to be independently propelled, and was too tall to access the sand or water, interfering with her ability to make sand castles and look for shells and stones.

Aim: Explore designs for a wheeled mobility device that would allow Jessa to explore the beach and engage in typical beach activities.

Links:


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Small red dot  Project for Solomon

Background: Solomon is an 18-month old child from Foster City with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a condition of the skin that causes it to be fragile and easily injured, forming painful blisters - a serious problem if they subsequently become infected.

Solomon's father explains further: "The problem is shear stress. Skin is basically a composite material, and for these kids, the 'glue' between two of the layers is weak or non-existent. In Solomon's case, the defect is at the lowest layer, and the glue is weak. We use additional layers of clothes to help absorb shear stress for him. For example, Solomon wears a tight layer of soft cotton undergarments at all times, called Skinnies, which cover his entire body from neck to toe. On his knees and elbows, he then wears soft pads. Then over these garments he wears socks, pants, and a long sleeve shirt, and cotton gloves on his hands. Together, this system reduces the shear stress able to reach his skin and reduces the likelihood for injury."

"However this solution is not perfect. For example, should we be using a tight layer made of Lycra rather than cotton? How would that affect the shear stress reaching his skin and his temperature regulation? Hard knee and elbow pads like skateboarders use would be great for him, but the straps to hold these pads in place are likely to cut him. How could we modify these straps to be effective? These are the types of engineering questions that could yield real benefits for Solomon and the many kids, and adults, like him."

Problem: Solomon does not have large areas of wounds on his body because his parents don't allow him to engage in play activities for fear that he will get injured. But Solomon desperately wants to play with his 5 year-old brother and other kids: running, climbing, and doing other things a child of that age typically does.

Aim: Explore design concepts to provide Solomon with protection during “normal” play activities.

Links:


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Small red dot  Simple Games for Children with Autism

"Last week I met with eight caregivers (mothers of children with autism) about you (Alexandra Berrio) and your organization's (Assistive Labs) assistive aid. Six have children with moderate to severe levels of autism who do not have verbal communication skills. The mothers shared a shocking revelation with me that they lead socially isolated lives. They do not attend any social activities such marriages & birthday parties, visit relatives and neighbors' houses during the festival season, dine in restaurants, go to the market, etc. Other family members may attend these events, but the mothers, who are the main caregivers of their autistic children, can't attend. In public, their children exhibit the following behaviors:"

  • They become hyperactive: do not want to sit in their chairs.
  • They make meaningless sounds, sometimes they shout - sometimes their vocalizations disturb everyone nearby.
  • They become restless: running and jumping.
  • Sometimes they become destructive: breaking glasses and hitting others. (This may be a sensory issue.)
  • They exhibit unwanted behaviors such as taking food from another's plate or licking objects.

"People nearby object to these activities and complain. For these reasons, the caregivers lead socially isolated lives caring for their autism children."

"There are many games and apps for children, but none specifically for autistic children. These children do like gadgets, but they face challenges using them. Most of them provide too much stimulation and require a high level of concentration, making them difficult to use. The parents want a device to occupy their children when they attend social activities. During that time, the children should be fully engaged with the device so they don't misbehave. The device should be:"

  • Easy to carry.
  • Easy to use.

"Considering an Occupational Therapy perspective, here are additional considerations:"

  • Display less visual information as excessive visual information over-stimulates.
  • Use only basic colors such as red, yellow, and blue.

(This document was authored by the Centre for Rehabilitation and Paralysis in Bangladesh and provided by Alexandra Berrio of Assistive Labs.)

Links:


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Small red dot  Durable Medical Equipment Projects

Aim: Explore CAD designs for affordable durable medical equipment supporting older adults at home including devices to:

  • assist in standing
  • help in lifting
  • transfer to/from wheelchair to bath tub
  • ascend and descend stairs
  • prevent bed sores
  • facilitate transportation to/from rehab centers and doctor's appointments
  • promote upper body exercise

Links:


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Small red dot  Crossing the Street

Aim: Explore designs to help pedestrians who are blind safely and independently navigate a cross walk equipped with a traffic signal.

Links:
Car Company Offering Red Light-Reading Vehicles in Las Vegas

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Small red dot  Wheelchair Accessible Swing

Background: The Magical Bridge Playground in Palo Alto is the nation's first fully accessible and socially inclusive playground designed specifically for children with disabilities as well as children of parents who have a disability.

Problem: The current offering of wheelchair accessible swings does not provide a means for the child with limited arm strength to independently get into the swing or control its motion.

Aim: Explore CAD and/or scaled designs that would allow this population to enjoy swinging independently and safely.

Links:
Permanent ADA Swing Seat with Frame
Wheelchair Swing Platform (video 3:53)
Swing for disabled user (video 1:42)
How to use the Wheelchair Swing (video 3:00)
The AbilitySwing
Oaklands School have a wheelchair swing (video 2:07)
Wheelchair swing opens (video 0:45)
New wheelchair swing in Victoria Park (video 0:44)

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Small red dot  Walk-About Project for Tom

Background: Paul's friend, Tom, is a heavy-set older gentleman in his 60s with Parkinson's Disease who enjoys getting outdoors and walking.

Problem: He tends to walk with a fast, stumbling abnormal gait and has fallen on occasion.

Aim: Explore designs that would enable a companion to stabilize his ambulation, improving his safety while walking outdoors.

Links:

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Device(s) for Holding & Manipulating

Background:

Problem: People like Kim who don't have use of their arms and hands, whether due to paralysis, amputation, or birth defect have challenges holding and manipulating objects around them.

Aim: Explore designs for a device (or suite of devices) that would aid Kim in grasping and manipulation tasks such as cooking, food preparation, housework, and office work.

Design Criteria: The device(s) should be light weight, assist in a variety of activities, and able to be used independently.

Other:

Links:
Where is the AT for Individuals without Limbs?

Kim

Kim stting at her work desk with the mouth grabber on a stand. Kim at her work desk with the mouth grabber on a stand.

Kim at home.

Kim at her work desk with the mouth grabber on a stand.



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Projects for Nearpod

Background: Nearpod is a mobile learning platform that helps teachers deliver instruction using iPads (and other mobile devices) in the classroom. It combines interactive presentation, collaboration, and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution.

1. Lesson Design for a Grade School Student with a Disability

Problem: Teachers strive to provide all their students with the best possible classroom learning experiences. Unfortunately, teachers typically design their lessons for a general student population, overlooking the needs of students with disabilities.

Aim: Develop lesson guidelines and examples for a grade school student with a disability using Nearpod.

Design Process:
  • connect with a Special Education teacher
  • identify a particular student with a disability
  • research best practices in lesson design for this disability
  • create new or modify existing lessons appropriate for the grade, topic, and disability
  • receive feedback from the Special Education teacher on lesson's the effectiveness
  • compose a guideline document for developing educational lessons for this disability as a part of project report

Other: The project is not intended to address the computer access needs of students who are blind or deaf or those with mobility impairments that challenge their ability to respond to lessons: entering text, drawing, or making choices on the display.

2. VR for Enhanced Instruction

Employ Nearpod's virtual reality headset to create an enhanced immersive educational instruction experience for grade school students with disabilities. Examples include i) adding audio or another sensory component to the current VR experience and ii) developing a life skills curriculum for tasks such as going grocery shopping, using public transportation, getting money from the bank, etc. Please reference Nearpod's partnership with 360 cities to understand the current offering.

3. VR for Improved Empathy

Use Nearpod's virtual reality headset to create an immersive educational experience that would allow grade school students without disabilities to better empathize with those with disabilities. Simulate what it might be like to live with a specific disability or impairment.

4. Vision Impairment Simulator

Develop an app that simulates a variety of selected visual impairments in real time using a smartphone camera.

Links:
Graphite - Nearpod Editorial Review
Nearpod video (1:13)
Making Tech Simple - Nearpod Introduction
Edshelf - Nearpod Review (with video 0:40)
Nearpod VR

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User Survey of Power Wheelchair Desireable Features and Capabilities

Survey power wheelchair users to identify desirable features and capabilities that could be incorporated into future wheelchair designs. Include both wheelchair and user safety items as well as information about the surrounding infrastructure and route being traveled.


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Projects employing inexpensive voice-recognition technology

Background: Thirty years ago, voice recognition systems were in their infancy. A typical system cost $3000 and required considerable user training to recognize just a few words. Today, the cost of these devices has fallen sharply while the performance has improved greatly.

Aim: Explore an application for a person with a disability using an inexpensive voice recognition product. Examples include enhanced computer control and accessibility for those with limited manipulation abilities, control of household appliances (lights, TV, music system), and operation of a hospital bed.

Design Criteria: The device should be appropriate for the user's abilities and be simple to configure and use.

Other:

Links:
EasyVR Shield
Voice Recognition Module
Speech Recognition with Arduino

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Pooper scooper for canine companions of wheelchair users

Problem: Wheelchair users who walk their dogs need to clean up after them. Limited hand / arm strength and reduced mobility can affect the dog owner's ability to successfully perform both the collection and bagging portions of this task.

Aim: Explore designs for a pooper scooper system that will be easy for pet owners with a disability to use.

Design Criteria: The improved scooper design can employ commercially available components, but must be simple in design, lightweight, convenient to store on the wheelchair, easy to use by pet owners with limited hand / arm movement, and inexpensive to fabricate.

Other:

Links:

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Project employing the Microsoft Kinect Controller

Background: Kinect is a 3D motion sensing input device designed for the Xbox 360 video game console and Windows PCs. It enables users to control and interact with computers wirelessly and hands-free, through a natural user interface using full body gestures and spoken commands.

Aim: Explore an application for a person with a disability using the Kinect Controller product. Examples include enhanced computer control and accessibility for those with limited manipulation abilities, physical therapy coach, control of household appliances (lights, TV, music system), operation of Bluetooth devices (iPhone), and implementation of an on-screen keyboard.

Design Criteria: The device should be appropriate for the user's abilities and be simple to configure and use.

Other: For this project, Microsoft will make available 1 or 2 "older" Kinect sensor bars which can be used with the companion SDK for Windows.

Links:
Kinect for Xbox 360
Gesture-Based Design Engineering (with video 3:27)

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Household Tasks Project

Problem: Older adults often find it difficult to perform everyday household tasks such as hanging curtains, fixing household devices, cleaning windows, ironing, and making the bed.

Aim: Explore device designs that are capable of improving or restoring the ability of older adults to attend to daily household tasks, especially the most basic ones such as making the bed and ironing.

Design Criteria: The design should be intuitive and safe to use, highly reliable, lightweight, and easy to handle, clean, and store.

Links:

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Shower / Bathtub / Sink / Toilet Cleaning Project

Problem: For older adults to remain in their current housing (as they desire), they must be able to independently maintain the cleanliness of their house, including its shower, bathtub, sink, and toilet. While there are numerous cleaning products on the market, none adequately addresses the problem. [What are some of their limitations?]

Aim: Explore design solutions for the shower / bathtub / sink / toilet cleaning problem for an older adult with a disability.

Design Criteria: The design(s) must be economical, esthetically pleasing, as well as easy and safe to use while performing the cleaning task. The design will be driven by the user's abilities.

Links:

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Individual Projects Suggested by the Ideation Workshop Senior User Insights Panel

Address concerns expressed by the Ideation Workshop Senior User Insights Panel for the Stanford Center on Longevity's Design Challenge, "Enabling Personal Mobility across the Life Span".

The result of the individual student project efforts should be ideas, concepts, or low-resolution models rather than functional prototypes.

  • lifting individuals who have fallen in their home (either with or without the assistance of another family member)
  • promoting community participation through enhanced use of transportation and communication systems
  • improving appearance and beauty
  • sustaining mobility and activity after a diagnosis of Parkinson's or other similar conditions
  • addressing technophobia through instructional techniques
  • making new friends and maintaining current relationships in the community
  • redesigning communities for older adults

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Individual Projects with Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury

1. Problems and needs expressed at SCI Peer Support Group Meeting

Manipulating objects:
  • picking up dropped items, especially from under tables or chairs
  • reaching items high on shelves
  • carrying items such as papers and groceries
  • retrieving mail from a mailbox
  • BBQ implements
  • handling a bank card at an ATM
  • handling money - both coins and bills
Accessing the real-world:
  • charging system for powered wheelchair users
  • mounting an iPhone camera for a photographer with C5/6 quadriplegia
  • opening doors
  • opening a 2-liter bottle
  • preparing and serving food including cooking tasks, making sandwiches, and heating soup
  • controlling appliances such as the TV, telephone, electric bed, music system, nurse call, etc.
    HouseMate ECU for Android Configurator
    VoiceIR Environmental Voice Controller Configurator
  • transferring to / from wheelchair to bed or shower
  • tele-visiting / tele-working with family / co-workers at home/office during hospital stay
  • selecting groceries remotely for delivery
  • designing an arm ergometer that would allow users to strap themselves in
  • exploring joystick concepts that would accommodate a variety of shaft geometries
  • building a cup holder that can fit on any wheelchair
Recreational activities:
Caregiver (family, nurse, and therapist) assistance

2. Fishing rod, wheelchair brackets, accessible digital camera, lap tray system

  • A device to operate a fishing rod for a user without use of upper extremity - to reel the line in/out, lock the reel, etc
    existing products from Broadened Horizons
  • A bracket design for new power wheelchairs that would allow use of an overhead sling system
  • A bracket system for power wheelchairs that would work with a mobile arm support system
  • A device that would allow a high level quadriplegia (C4) to use a digital camera. It need not be able to adjust position of camera, but it should include a feature to snap a photo for users with diminished hand function.
    existing products from Broadened Horizons
  • A lap tray system that is compatible with the new wheelchair designs

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Specific Individual Projects

  1. Accessibility Survey

    Aim: Perform an accessibility survey and analysis of a new Stanford building. (This project might best be accomplished by two students performing surveys of two buildings - one doing the measuring, the other recording and swapping roles between buildings.)

  2. Customize a Cane or Walker or Wheelchair

    Aim: Explore ways to add a personal aesthetic to a user's cane, walker, or wheelchair.

  3. Customize a Whill Wheelchair

    Aim: Explore ways to add a personal aesthetic to a Whill wheelchair.

  4. User-friendly Android App

    Aim: Create an Android app interface for users with limited vision for blinddroid.

  5. Age-Appropriate Learning Material

    Aim: Explore design concepts for age-appropriate learning material for adult participants with K - 3 grade reading level.

  6. Age-Appropriate Sensory Engagement

    Aim: Explore dignified design concepts for age-appropriate sensory stimulation items for adult participants with diminished cognitive functioning.


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Other Individual Projects

  1. Accessible interfaces for commonly-used devices:
    iPods / iPads / mp3 players
    Cell phones
    Remote controls

  2. Toys for kids with disabilities

  3. Projects benefitting children with Autism

  4. Projects benefitting parents with disabilities

  5. Projects supporting equal access to extracurricular sports activities for students with disabilities

  6. Assistive technology project defined by Google[x]

  7. Assistive technology project defined by Avenidas

  8. Software projects suggested by Project: Possibility

  9. Revisit projects listed in NSF guide:
    Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities

  10. Student-defined Individual Projects:
    Meet with the course instructor to discuss and agree upon the specifics of the project. Interview, observe, and discuss assistive technology problems with an individual with a disability or older adult. Address their desire to participate in one of the following activities by designing an adaptation to an existing device / tool or creating a new, more useful one.

    • Activities of Daily Living - cooking, showering or bathing, dressing, cleaning, housework, yard work, employment, education, shopping, commuting, etc

    • Sports and Exercise - walking, running, indoor and outdoor sports, etc

    • Leisure Activities and Hobbies - collecting, model making, crafts, board games & videogames, etc


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Updated 01/10/2017

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