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2018

Adaptive Canoeing

Enabling Engineering

The Need

The motivation for this project was to adapt the seat of a canoe in order to provide more back support for disabled users. This adaptive seat is unique because it is custom to the canoe supplied to us by Ross Lilley from AccesSportAmerica. To approach this problem, we defined all the needs and constraints for the seat. It has to be lightweight, supportive, comfortable, and not hinder the motion of the user while canoeing.

The Project

We held brainstorming sessions in order to gather possible solutions to our problem. After down-selecting our ideas, we ordered a seat that would fit into the size and shape of the base of the canoe. We then retrofit the canoe by trimming the seat and taking pictures and measurements of how the seat fit onto the canoe. After this, we started to model in SolidWorks possible parts that we were interested in 3D printing. We 3D printed several prototype parts and ordered additional parts that we started to use to assemble the back support. We finalized a method for securing the chair backing to the canoe with wooden blocks and a metal rod connected with 3D printed components. The completed design allows athletes with weak lower bodies to use this outrigger canoe comfortably and safely.

Eye Talk

Enabling Engineering

The Need

There are approximately 50,000 people in the United States and more in the rest of the world that suffer from a condition known as Locked-in-Syndrome or LIS. LIS is a neurological disorder causing complete paralysis with the exception of the eyes typically caused by stroke or brain trauma. There currently exists a few very expensive, invasive or ineffective solutions to help LIS patients communicate. The current solution space is in need of a product that is inexpensive, easy to use and allows patients to effectively communicate and interact with others.

The Solution

Our solution to this problem is a webcam-based eye tracking communication software with the ability to run on any laptop operating system with an integrated or attached webcam. The system maps the user’s gaze to specific location on screen and allows them to select buttons in a specially designed user interface. It makes use of machine learning and neural networks in order to calibrate and train itself to each user. The user interface allows the user to select a number of preset phrases as well as use an adapted keyboard with word completion to construct any word or phrase. The preset phrases include the categories yes/no, how they are feeling, where they would like to go, an attention bell, greetings, some entertainment. Once a final word or phrase is selected, the system uses text-to-speech to output the created text as audible speech or it can send a text message.

Go Baby Go (Pimpare)

Enabling Engineering

The Need

Boston has cerebral palsy, legal blindness, and managed seizure disorder. He is basically an infant in a toddler’s body, so he needs support to hold his body in the car. He cannot use his legs to manipulate things well.

The Solution

Based on that need, we created a seat harness and cushion in order to keep him in the car and comfortable. We also rewired the accelerator to a button on the steering wheel and painted the button a bright color he can see. We also implemented an electric steering system using a remote controlled linear actuator attached to the steering system under the car. Boston and his 2 sisters haven’t been able to play together like most kids, and with his sisters steering him with the remote controls, and Boston driving the car forward, they will finally get that chance.