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.

1 thought on “Assistive Technology at Maker Faire Detroit

  1. Pediatric Therapy Corner: AAC and Personal Identity: Who Makes the Choice? | PediaStaff - Therapy Jobs and Resources says:

    […] development or in terms of legislation, culture, assessment, and intervention, or even the recent, exciting explosion of do-it-yourself assistive technology, a movement with which we are […]

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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