Here’s something fun: five high school engineering teams that have invented assistive technology will compete against each other this week. The program is a part of the fourth annual National Engineering Design Challenge (NEDC) Finals Competition.
The competition, sponsored by the AbilityOne Program and the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), attracts teams of students from across the country who design and build an assistive device for a person with a disability to use in his or her workplace. Last year’s winning team created a device that allowed a user to change a tie trash bag with only one hand.
(This, to me, is a great example of how assistive technology can improve the lives of anyone. I’d love to be able to tie a trash bag with one hand.)
This year’s invention finalists include: a device that provides stability to people with tremor to safely draw medicine out of a vial; an integrated workspace designed for an individual who uses a wheelchair and has limited range of motion; a prosthetic device that attaches to an individual’s forearm and enables a person who does not have fingers to use a keyboard; an adaptive filing system that is moveable and accessible for an individual who has limited range of motion and fine-motor control; and a device that mounts a bag or backpack safely onto the back of a wheelchair and makes it easily accessed by the wheelchair user.
Each of the finalists received a free trip to Washington to present their device in person. The best overall design will receive a prize of $3,000 for their school.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.