Students showcase devices for disabilities

Students majoring in electro-mechanical engineering technology, mechanical engineering, and occupational therapy collaborate each year to create devices to meet the needs of individuals with physical challenges as part of the Pfreimer Adaptive Equipment Project (PADEP). They will present their designs in two separate sessions: the first on Monday, Dec. 9, and the second on Wednesday, Dec. 11, both at 12:15 p.m. in room 121, Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. Both presentations are free and open to the public. 

The first five projects will be presented on Dec. 9:

Team Black: Daily medicine dispenser that automatically dispenses medicine/vitamins at specific times during the day, useful for people with dementia or other cognitive difficulties who might otherwise have difficulty maintaining a medication schedule.

Team Brown: Automated device to be used in therapy for individuals who have had a hand injury and need frequent stretching exercises.

Team Red: Silicone glove with built-in thermometer used to alert the user of the temperature of items he or she is touching with the intent of preventing burns, useful for people with diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy, and other conditions that can cause numbness or lack of sensation in the hands.

Team Orange: Magnetic playing card holder that uses magnets to keep cards in place, reducing need for fine motor skills in order to play card games, useful to people with arthritis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and Parkinson’s. 

Team Yellow: Patty Flipper is an automatic spatula with a button to automatically flip a patty, useful to individuals with arthritis or limited movement in the arms or hands. 

The remainder of the projects will be presented on Dec. 11:

Team Green: Underwire bra that can be put on with one hand using the BOA tightening and release system, for individuals who have had a stroke, upper limb amputees, Parkinson's, limited range of motion, and similar conditions.

Team Blue: Pivot disk with support handle, built in brake, and rim around the base that is easily stored and is affordable. This device would be used with the help of a caregiver to successfully complete transfers in a home environment.

Team Violet: Adjustable height wheelchair cushion that will assist in patient transfers. This motorized device will help decrease potential falls during transfer from one location to another, useful to those who use a wheelchair and need assistance in transferring from wheelchair to bed, chair, bench, or any other seating position.

Team Grey: Adjustable shopping basket for any wheelchair that eliminates the need to transfer to a scooter at the supermarket and allows the user to be as independent in shopping as possible, designed for anyone with limited mobility who would otherwise need a scooter to shop.

Team White: Device that will install into a car to create an easier way for individuals to get from a wheelchair into the car seat. This difficult transfer is a safety concern for individuals with decreased mobility, stability and balance.

The efforts are the result of interdisciplinary class projects in electro-mechanical engineering technology, taught by Shiyoung Lee, associate professor of engineering; mechanical engineering, taught by Rungun Nathan, associate professor of engineering; and occupational therapy, taught by David Kresse, assistant teaching professor of occupational therapy.

The annual event, formerly known as Devices for Disabilities, was initiated by Henry Ansell, retired assistant professor of engineering. For more information, contact Kresse at [email protected].