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Woman with disability invents assistive technology

Shared by Adriana Mallozzi on 2017-11-07 18:37

About the solution

Adriana was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
She brought her idea to an assistive technology hackathon at MIT in February 2015. Partnering with MIT students, and benefiting from sponsors’ equipment donations, they developed a prototype of a wireless sip and puff joystick for android, allowing users to navigate their phones and interact with the multitude of apps allowing users to control their environment.

Her love for technology started at age seven, when her occupational therapist introduced her to assistive tech that allowed her to use a computer by herself. And from that moment Adriana knew what independence was and she became keen to be independent.
She thought about creating something that combined her passion about traveling with her power chair.

“Having a disability pushed me to be innovative in my approach to everything.(...)I love to travel, but typically don’t bring my power chair for various reasons, and as a result, I’m cut off from everything – like everyone else these days, I’m dependent on personal electronics and the need to always stay connected. I had the opportunity to submit my idea for a chance to participate in the 2015 MIT Assistive Technology Hackathon. I was one of 13 people chosen and won first place. Four talented MIT engineering students took my vision and built a prototype”, Adriana explained.

“Puffin became a MassChallenge Boston 2017 finalist. It is incredible to finally see my vision come to fruition!”
From there, Adriana formed a team with Shana Penna, her co-founder who joined the project after did an interview to Adriana about hackathons as part of her thesis for MBA.

Puffin is working to address the need of diverse users, which necessitates sophistication in the sip and puff solutions. Also, they aim to have sensitivity for lung capacity for different users, or for the same user who might have a different level of lung capacity on a different day.

Adriana is a pioneer and early adopter of many assistive technologies, currently has bluetooth on her power wheelchair, enabling phone and TV controls, but she wants an inexpensive solution for when she travels with her manual wheelchair.

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This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Adriana Mallozzi was born in USA, in 1977. She is a woman with cerebral palsy, who invented a combination of hardware and software that provides access to a variety of devices which allows users to increase their employment opportunities and enhance economic potential typically unavailable to this population. In 2015, her solution was known as Puffin.

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