Assisting others through assistive technology
Approximately 3% of Singaporeans are living with a disability. However, the needs of persons with disabilities often remain overlooked and they continue to face myriad challenges in independent living, due to the lack of availability and access to appropriate and affordable assistive technology. Singapore is also facing a rapidly aging population that is undergoing similar challenges.
Engineering Good partners with welfare organisations that work directly with these individuals, and supports them through assistive technology programmes. Through these programmes, volunteers will engage directly with persons with disabilities, understand their needs and challenges, and develop technology that meets their needs. Volunteers will experience how technology can help to lower self-imposed and societal barriers, enabling these individuals to live more independently and thrive in the community.
From April to November 2016, Engineering Good volunteers worked with Rainbow Center Margaret Drive and Yishun Park Schools to develop ideas and designs to address 4 particular needs that Rainbow Center had raised!
Adapted Radio Controller
Andrew is a sociable boy and enjoys chatting with people. Even though he is not able to speak clearly and we have to strain our ears to catch his words, that doesn’t stop him from interacting with people around him.
Andrew also loves music. One of his favourite past times at home is listening to music. However, he is not able to operate the radio buttons due to his poor motor skills. As such, he has to rely heavily on his caregivers to do so.
Team TxRx has come together to create a adaptedradio controller, customised to his needs. With this, Andrew can be empowered!
To us, having iPads is a luxury. But to children like Keaton and Janelle, iPad is the window through which their basic needs are met – to communicate, learn and play.
To make the iPads accessible to them, team Iron Man has come together to design a mounting mechanism that can secure these devices to their wheelchairs.
Keaton and Janelle are a little shy, but they warm up quickly once the volunteers start interacting with them. Our wish is that the invention will bring more smiles to their faces.
Adapted Writing Tools
Though Chloe is non-verbal, she is very much aware of her surroundings. Words are not necessary for her to express her emotions, especially happiness whenever she is surrounded by her loved ones. Estella is a little shy at first but starts chatting after she warms up. She has an inquisitive mind and likes exploring new things.
These 2 young girls have one thing in common. They both struggle with writing difficulties due to their physical conditions. Team Adapt 2 Write are inventing customised writing aids for them, which will hopefully increase their love for school and learning!
Using the computer is part of everyone’s daily life, and the computer is an important tool for education. However, using the keyboard and mouse may prove to be challenge for some of the Rainbow Centre students without the fine motor skills required.
Team Funbox designed a USB interface box for the students to use big button switches instead. This will allow the students to interact with the education software more easily. In addition, the team also aims to make the interface box as affordable as possible, so that all the computers in the school IT lab would be accessible to all the students.
Projects with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS)
The CPAS School caters to a wide spectrum of children with cerebral palsy, and their higher functioning academic students follow the mainstream PSLE syllabus in school. In this project, we will be working in collaboration with CPAS teachers and sponsor IBM to create equipment to enable CPAS students to engage in science experiments, and spark their interest in science topics within the PSLE syllabus. These lesson plans will supplement CPAS's existing teaching materials and will be showcased to teachers from special needs schools across Singapore.
Read the full project report here.
Projects with the AWWA School
Being able to do flag raising in front of the school during morning assembly is a highly empowering experience. We are working with AWWA school to enable more students to be able to do so, especially those who are more cognitively aware but are trapped due to their physical condition. Our team of volunteers are helping to motorise the flag raising and lowering process, so that it can be done at the push of a button.
The Youth Corps Singapore (YCS) is a national initiative that supports youths who are keen to serve the community. We are glad to be one of the community partners of YCS this year, guiding a team of aspirants through their service-learning journey, through the development of assistive technology and related programmes for special needs students at the AWWA School.