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Student creates device to help disabled kid communicate better

Ana Duarte 于 2015-10-07 12:29 分享

About the solution

Andrew uses a computer software program to communicate with his family and friends. The program scans through a variety of words, pictures and letters, and Andrew must operate a switch with his head to indicate the words he wants to say. But because of a movement disorder that accompanies his rare form of the disease, he often hits the switch unintentionally and his messages become garbled. What Gary did was create a light-activated switch that reduces the incidental contact with the switch.

With this device, a light-activated switch, Andrew is less likely to activate the computer program inadvertently. To use the new gadget, he wears a headband that has a light the size of a needlepoint, which he directs at a small receiver attached to the head support on his wheelchair. Because of the device’s small size, it’s harder for Andrew to activate the communication switch by accident and because the transmitter and receiver are close together, Andrew only needs to make slight deliberate movements to activate it.

“He’s been using the computer for learning how to read, spell and construct sentences, and he was getting a lot of false hits,” said Andrew’s father, Gary Sylvia. “He’s learning how to read and write and it’s important for him to have good software so he doesn’t get frustrated.”

Comtois created the new device as part of his internship to develop assistive technologies for patients at the Eleanor Slater Hospital in Cranston, and it took him two months to complete the project.

“I was thinking about it – this invention is actually going to do something for someone. Then it’s not work anymore – I’m going to help someone. The fact that behind this project was a real patient in need really motivated me. I came up with an initial design, then met with Andrew and his parents to learn more specifically what they needed, and then modified the design based on their input”, explained the inventor. A lot of the ideas for the final design came from Andrew’s father.

Gary Sylvia, then a URI chemical engineering graduate, is grateful that Comtois engineered a device that will improve Andrew’s ability to communicate and function, something that is essential to his development and schooling.

“Anything that can increase his efficiency and accuracy will add to his ability to interact with the computer,” Sylvia said. “The switch becomes more important depending on how far Andrew goes. As he proceeds (in school) he needs to be quicker and more accurate. The switch has great potential to go forward, and be designed for other children”.

Adapted from: http://bit.ly/2vFop2T

More info: http://bit.ly/2tzwYe4

这些解决方案不应包括使用药物,化学品或生物制品(包括食品);创伤性设备;冒犯性的,商业或内在危险的内容。该解决方案未经医学验证。请谨慎进行!如果您有任何疑问,请咨询健康专家。

DISCLAIMER: This story was written by someone who is not the author of the solution, therefore please be advised that, although it was written with the utmost respect for the innovation and the innovator, there can be some incorrect statements. If you find any errors please contact the patient Innovation team via info@patient-innovation.com

关于发明者

Andrew Sylvia, from USA, has cerebral palsy. In 2003, when Gary Comtois, from USA, then 20 years old, was a junior at University of Rhode Island, he developed a device to help Andrew use a computer and communicate better.

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