This is a photo from the DIY Assitive Technology design project I led with a group of high school students in the spring of 2014.
This student is in 4th grade and lives with Cerbral Palsy. He's playing on a "piano" made from a blue poly tarp and aluminum tape. The piano is connected to a Makey Makey which is connected to a computer.
I occasionally play music at the Saluda Grade Cafe in Saluda, NC (near Asheville, NC). The video below was shot on June 27, 2014. The tune is called "Big Scioto" (sigh-oh-tee).
Dance of the Robots
Piano for Makey Makey
Bongos (2 buttons)
Trebuchet Launch (1 button)
High school students design appropriate Assistive Technology solutions for elementary students with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Ten high school students enrolled in a year-long Computer Science course taught by Joe Speier at the Asheville School , a college preparatory school located in West Asheville. These ten students participated in a special project-based Engineering Design class taught by Tom Heck during the month of May 2014.
Working in teams, the Asheville School students designed and and built prototypes of appropriate Assistive Technology solutions for exceptional students enrolled at Hall Fletcher Elementary School (HFE) located in Asheville, NC. The design solutions were intended to help students interact with computer programs (games) in new ways. We worked closely with Kelly Blount and Amy Floyd, the HFE teaching team, throughout the project. This project is endorsed by Dr. Gordon Grant, the principal at HFE.
The Assistive Technology prototypes we created utilized a versatile computer interface design platform called a Makey Makey which was developed by the MIT Media Lab. The Makey Makey is a $50 invention kit for the 21st century. It turns everyday objects into touchpads allowing for quick prototyping of creative Assistive Technology solutions.
In addition to the work of Jason Webb and Lucas Steuber work, I was inspired by Purdue University's "EPICS" High School program (Engineering Projects in Community Service) which enables high school students to connect engineering and computing design with people and local community needs.
During this short course I introduced the students to Stanford University's Design School process which is outlined in this 44 page PDF.
April 1-30 -- I call a list of agencies who can help me connect with a group of students with physical disabilities. These agencies include: FIRST Community Resource Center, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Buncombe County School's Progressive Education Program (PEP), Asheville City Schools Exceptional Children's Program, Care Partners, Buncombe County Schools "Special Services", Mission Children's Hospital, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, North Carolina Assistive Technology Program, Disability Partners, Carolina Pediatric Therapy, and others. I worked with Charlie Glazener, the media contact for the Asheville City Schools system to secure permission to take photos and video of the elementary students and I worked with Charlie to get the media to the May 15 event (ABC TV and local paper).
May 1, 2014 -- Class # 1 (90 min.) Asheville School students board a bus and travel to HFE to meet with the teachers and students. The goal for this trip was to build rapport and empathy (step #1 of the Stanford D-School process).
May 2 -- Class # 2 (45 min.) Asheville School students are introduced to the Makey Makey.
May 8 -- Class # 3 (90 min.) Asheville School students select the game they intend to play and begin building prototype.
May 12 -- Class # 4 (45 min.) Asheville School students refine designs and test each other's designs. Prepare for Class #5 (return to HFE).
May 15 -- Class #5 (90 min.) Asheville School students travel to HFE by bus and meet with the students to test their prototypes (see video above).
May 19 -- Class #6 (45 min.) Asheville School students debrief the experience.
Jason Webb's "Instructable" on DIY Assistive Technology HERE
Another resource from Jason HERE
Overview of the MaKey MaKey for educators of students with diverse needs HERE
Lucas Steuber's Assistive Technology website HERE
DIY Ability website HERE
MaKey MaKey website HERE
MaKey MaKey Forums HERE
MaKey MaKey for Computer Access workshop (video) HERE -- NOTE: A guest on this show is one of the developers of the Makey Makey!
Switch Accessible Games
Car (driving) games HERE
Hall Fletcher Elementary Games HERE
Learn how to download flash games HERE
RESEARCH: Evaluating Accessibility in Fabrication Tools for Children (click link below)
DIY Pressure Plate Switches HERE
The following is a list of computer games we were prepared to play with the HFE students.
Hopper Beetle Download Hopper_Beetle
Ultimate Baseball Download Ultimate_baseball
Dance Revolution Download Dance_revolution
Dance of the Robots Download Dance_of_the_Robots
Fruit Basket Fruit Basket Game
Piano for Makey Makey Piano
Trebuchet Launch Download Castle-clout
View the photo gallery of this project HERE.
WLOS, the local ABC affiliate, sent a reporter and film team out to the event. The video report will soon be posted here.
The Asheville School posted a great story with photos on their website HERE.
A brief mention of this project appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times. Click on the image below to enlarge.
WLOS TV, the local ABC news affiliate, did a story on this project.
Technorati Tags: Asheville, Asheville School, Assistive Technology, coding, computer science, Design, Design Process, DIY, Engineering, Gordon Grant, Hall Fletcher Elementary, Joe Speier, Makey Makey, MIT Media Lab, Stanford Design School, students, Tom Heck
| | |
What is good design?
Dr. Gary Hamel says great design evokes an almost visceral reaction because it is:
CLICK HERE to read Dr. Hamel's article in FORBES.
Design Thinking is a proven and repeatable problem-solving protocol that any business or profession can employ to achieve extraordinary results. Read the article in Fast Company Magazine HERE.
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, offers 3 steps to a more open, innovative mind.
CLICK HERE to read the article in Fast Company magazine.
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, gives a fascinating TED Talk encouraging designers to think big!
Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO: Why social innovators need design thinking
Don Norman is an academic in the field of cognitive science, design and usability engineering. His TED Talk on "The three ways that good design makes you happy" (below).
Amos Winter is an MIT Engineer who asks "How do you build a wheelchair ready to blaze through mud and sand, all for under $200?". In his TED Talk below, Winter guides us through the mechanics of an all-terrain wheelchair that's cheap and easy to build -- for true accessibility -- and gives us some lessons he learned along the road.
Robohand -- When Richard Van As, a woodworker in South Africa, decided to make a set of mechanical fingers, it wasn't just for fun. He'd lost four of the fingers on his right hand in an unfortunate work accident. For a carpenter, a disabled hand is a big professional risk, so Richard decided on the day of the incident that he would use the tools available to him to remedy his situation. Watch the inspiring video below to hear how Richard's project, Robohand, is changing lives with patience, spirit, and a MakerBot Replicator 2.
The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Design. Much of what is fueling the best in design is the desire to make life easier and more enjoyable. Read the article from the March 2014 issue of Fast Company HERE.
During the 6-month course, they travel to Bangladesh and Indonesia and race to design life-saving breathing devices, IV medicine infusion pumps, and fresh water storage systems.
PBSLearningMedia (a curriculum portal for teachers) created a series of interactive videos designed to help students learn how to think and act like innovators. It is designed for 4th through 12th grade students, to be completed after watching the Extreme By Design documentary.
Learning Episode 1 ("Being an Innovator") introduces students to the design thinking approach. Scenes from the documentary are used to illustrate concepts, and a protagonist acts as a guide, providing instruction and explanations to the students.
On March 20, 2014 Asheville Makers led a "Learn To Solder" event at the West Asheville Library.
It was the first free and open to the public learn how to solder event ever held in Asheville and it was a huge success.
We had students age 8 to 80 learning how to solder a blinking "robot badge" found at the Maker Shed.
Thank you to all of our great soldering teachers. Without you this would not have been the great event it was.
Avi Silverman and Tom Heck of Asheville Makers recently met with representatives of the Asheville City - Buncombe County Library System who are very excited about the Maker Movement. We'll be partnering to lead more free and open to the public events!
On March 12, 2014 I visited A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering in Greenville, SC and led three 90 minute hovercraft workshops (one for each of the three 5th grade classes).
Read an article about this amazing school in The Atlantic CLICK HERE
Here's the 2 minute highlight video:
The workshop starts with a discussion comparing Engineering and Science. We then discuss the Engineering Design Process and compare it to the Scientific Method. Then we discuss friction and determine if it is good or bad. This leads to a discussion about hovercrafts, friction, and "lift". Then we start building mini hovercrafts out of old CDs and balloons.
We then discuss the difference between "lift" and "thrust" -- both are critical for hovercraft locomotion. Students experiment with a balloon as it provides thrust.
With an understanding of lift and thrust it's time to ride the big hovercraft powered by a leaf blower.
At the end of the day I led a 60 minute workshop for the teaching staff on "How To Teach Leadership in the Engineering Classroom". This is a fun, experiential workshop that got the teachers talking about leadership and teamwork in their classroom. I led activities found in the IATF Team Building Games Archive found inside the IATF Members Only Area.
Big thanks to Mr. Hamilton Parks of A.J. Whittenberg School of Engineering who made this day possible.
| | |
Our father-son group gathers once a year for a massive Nerf dart battle in a gym. One year I build this Nerf Assault Vechicle (NAV) using a Krazy Kar and a cardboard box. The only problem was it was too small for adults to ride!
Engineering is Elementary
The Engineering Place
International Technology & Engineering Educators Association
SAGE Design Challenges
Engineering go for it!
INcreasing Student Participation, Interest and Recruitment in Engineering and Science
Math and science activities
Tryengineering.org is a resource for students, their parents, their teachers and their school counselors. This is a portal about engineering and engineering careers, and we hope it will help young people understand better what engineering means, and how an engineering career can be made part of their future.
Rockets made from paper and powered by compressed air are one of my favorite projects to lead with kids.
A quick google search will point you to several launcher designs and I've included the design I most like below. Click on the link below to download the PDF.
Although the above plans do work, I've made some improvements to the pressurization valve and the air release system.
Click on the photo below to view larger version of the pressurization valve (different than what is shown in the plans above).
I've replaced the 3/4 inch "ball valve" (item # 13 in the plans) with a battery operated sprinkler valve I purchased through amazon. You can find this valve at amazon by searching for:
Orbit 57100 3/4-Inch Female Pipe Threaded Auto Inline Sprinkler Valve
The above valve easily replaces the 3/4 ball valve described in the plans. The sprinkler valve works well with a simple 9 volt battery. I purchased the black plastic box that holds the battery at Radio Shack. The "launch activator" was made from PVC pipe I had laying around and the red button that completes the circuit (battery, sprinkler valve, launch activator) was purchased at Radio Shack. The battery box hinge is a piece of black duct tape. I keep the lid closed with velcro. The box is attached to the PVC pipe with a hose clamp.
The sprinkler valve is superior to the ball valve because it releases air quicker allowing you to launch rockets higher with lower air pressure. A well made paper rocket will launch hundreds of feet in the air with only 45 pounds of pressure when using the sprinkler valve. To get that same kind of elevation with the ball valve you would need a much higher pressure (90 psi).
Below I've attached a one page PDF "template" that, if printed on a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper or card stock, allows you to make a rocket. See the video below at the bottom of this post to learn how to make a rocket from the PDF template.
Watch the video below to learn how to make a rocket using the template found above.