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.
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 an adapted radio 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)
Gamification of ADL
For students with physical impairments, learning basic activities of daily living (ADL) such as showering, brushing teeth, changing clothes, or eating, can be extremely challenging. To address this, Team Funtasktic has designed and built a Kinect-based showering game for CPAS students to be able to practice showering skills in the classroom. By gamifying these activities, students can learn and practice the actions required for these activities in a safe environment.
VR Wheelchair Game
For students who are learning to use motorised wheelchairs, navigating new environments can be daunting, as they have to familiarise themselves with the external environment while getting used to their own wheelchair controls. Our virtual reality game, developed by Team VW, enables CPAS students to navigate around a supermarket independently using joystick controls, keeping score so that students and teachers can track their own progress!
Classroom Answering Tool
In many special education schools, classes can be a mix of verbal and non-verbal students. In such classes, non-verbal students may miss out on class participation as the verbal students take the limelight, and this can negatively impact their learning. Our classroom answering tool puts everyone on a level playing field, answering questions through pressing of accessibility switches adapted to each student's ability, allowing non-verbal students to participate actively in class.
Adapted Bowling Mechanism
For persons with cerebral palsy, recreational opportunities can be limited due to lack of access. With the right assistive device, more recreational opportunities can be opened up to persons with CP. One example is the adapted bowling mechanism that our team Strike Club is designing. This device allows the user to aim and launch a bowling ball down a ramp independently, enabling persons with CP to participate actively in the game!
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.