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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. I am CEO of Maker Media, the company that produces MAKE, Maker Faire and Maker Shed. I am Chairman of the Maker Education Initiative (www.makered.org).


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Comments

  1. ckharnett says:

    Those students/professors might check out a recently announced National Science Foundation program—especially the last line of the synopsis, it sounds like it was designed for this team.

    Program Number: 23355
    Title: General & Age-Related Disabilities Engineering (GARDE)

    Sponsor: Directorate for Engineering/NSF

    SYNOPSIS: The General & Age Related Disabilities Engineering
    (GARDE) program supports research that will lead to the development of
    new technologies, devices, or software for persons with disabilities.
    Research may be supported that is directed to the characterization,
    restoration, and/or substitution of human functional ability or
    cognition, or to the interaction of persons with disabilities and
    their environment. Areas of particular recent interest are
    disability-related research in neuroscience/neuroengineering and
    rehabilitation robotics. Emphasis is placed on significant
    advancement of fundamental engineering and scientific knowledge and
    not on incremental improvements. Proposals should advance discovery
    or innovation beyond the frontiers of current knowledge in
    disability-related research. Applicants are encouraged to contact the
    Program Director prior to submitting a proposal. Undergraduate
    Engineering Design Projects are also supported, especially those that
    provide prototype “custom-designed” devices or software for persons
    with disabilities.

    Deadline(s): 09/18/2012

    http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=yMw8QQZQfMzwT1NLJKVDnn41HL8WYCTDJ1wyVd2FWnLMkZv6Y8jN!290104779?oppId=183534&mode=VIEW