2003 Conference Proceedings

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Student projects the way to assistive technology

Presenter
Bryan Hobbs ME BE MIMechE Ceng
Co Ordinator of the Community Projects Group
Temasek Engineering School , Temasek Polytechnic
Singapore

What are the Student's Needs ?
The student needs a project to use their skills developed from the study of their course. The student needs to apply problem solving skills
The student looks for a project with intrinsic value.

What makes a good project ?
The project needs the following team members:

  1. Student: Their zeal and passion for the project
  2. Lecturer: zeal, passion and practical experience
  3. Customer: being able to explain what they want and accept ideas
  4. Supplier: The person who supplies key items must be reliable

The drive behind the project:
The passion for the project is initiated as a result of a close friend becoming disabled and wanting to help that person . There is also to the technical challenge to do something new using their existing skills.

The customer
The customer has initiated the project as a result of not being able to find a suitable product on the market. In some cases there is a similar product but it does not meet the unique requirements for the patient or the medical people. Here the role of the customer includes project specifications, medical details, and the final test of the product

What are the project groups we do ?

  1. mechanical
  2. electronic
  3. computing
  4. instruction materials

Mechanical Projects
Mobility : A elderly man wanted to regain his mobility but had limited space to move. The solution was the develop a electric wheelchair with minimum turning radius.

an electric wheelchair with minimum turning radius

Balance : After being out of action , need to regain your balance. The project uses load cells to measure the force under each foot.

Person regaining balance

Exercise : I am wheelchair bound but I need exercise . This student project is now being used at St Andrew's hospital for exercise

exercising while in a wheelchair exercising while in a wheelchair

Emergency : Pump the bag , But this project pumps the bag automatically

example of pump the bag

Electronic Projects
Did the doorbell ring? But I am deaf . Instead I felt the vibration to tell me

example of vibrating door bell

If I tighten the bandage too tight I restrict the blood flow but not tight enough it falls of, the solution is to measure the pressure between the bandage and the skin by electronic means.

example of blood pressur machine

Computer based projects
Teaching : to teach mathematics to children with Down's Syndrome Patient Data: To develop a program for a Palm (PDA) for the patient data storage and retrieval

BENEFITS OF THESE PROJECTS
In an academic world it is possible to try out new ideas in the form of student projects. These project ideas come from the medical people and the disabled people. The student develops customer relations skills and problem solving skills as there are no existing designs to work from. It shows to the student the view that service focus rather than money driven is possible. As a result the student becomes a community conscious person who would function in the community service organisations.

The key component manufacturer sees a new application for their product and becomes part of their marketing tactics. It also gets this key component manufacturer involved in the service to the community

CONCLUSION
The student through these projects develop a sense of service and belonging to the community. The student applies their skills and develops extra skills like communication and problem solving. The projects also develop a sense of client between the medical personnel and the Temasek Polytechnic.


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