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20120728 112845 Assistive Technology at Maker Faire Detroit

A set of student capstone projects demonstrating assistive technology from the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Detroit Mercy were on display inside the museum. Dr. Darrell Kleinke said that the projects came from students working with disabled clients and developing custom solutions for them. One wheelchair modification was designed for a man who liked his manual wheelchair but struggled around the house to carry loads, such as a basket of laundry. The solution was a motorized cargo trailer that can be remotely operated. LJ, a grad student in the program, showed a baby stroller for a woman who lacked the upper body strength to push the stroller. The somewhat lo-tech solution was a magnetic belt for the woman that was strong enough to push the stroller forward.

Dr. Kleinke said that the biggest challenge students face is figuring out if there is a commercial opportunity to further develop the projects for additional clients.

University of Detroit Mercy is a first-time participant in Maker Faire Detroit.

Dale Dougherty

I’m founder of MAKE magazine and creator of Maker Faire, which are produced by Maker Media, where I’m Executive Chairman. I am also Chairman of the Maker Education Initiative (

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