RESNA's 2024 Student Design Challenge Finalists Announced


RESNA's 2024 Student Design Challenge Finalists Announced

Date: Friday, June 7, 2024
Category: General

RESNA's Student Design Challenge (SDC) is excited to be back for yet another year! Held annually, the SDC offers both undergrad and graduate students representing a variety of disciplines including mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering; computer information science; architecture; and physical and occupational therapy an opportunity to showcase new, innovative, and creative assistive technology designs that help people with disabilities. 

2024's student teams brought a great pool of submissions and tight competition across the board. The panel of Assitive Technology expert judges selected four finalists and the RERC on AAC award winner from submission teams spanning the globe including B V Raju Institute of Technology, New York University,  Northwestern University Medical Makers, Rice University, Rutgers University, Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Stevens Institute of Technology, Universidad Anahuac Norte, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, University of Utah, Utah State University, and the University of Waterloo. SDC finalists and the RERC on AAC award winners each receive a complimentary one-year RESNA student membership for each member of their team along with the opportunity of presenting to both at the Developers' Showcase on Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 3 p.m. ET, and to the judges panel at the Virtual Student Deisgn Challenge that will take place on Thursday, July 11, 2024 at 11 a.m. ET. The top 3 finalists will then be chosen by the judges panel and will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on July 11 at 5 p.m. ET, with cash prizes totaling $2,000.

Please join RESNA in congratulating the 2024 SDC finalists and the recipient of the RERC on AAC award!

2024 Student Design Challenge finalists:

Haptic Hero
Richard He, Sebastian Almonte, Hasumi Tanemori, Emanuel Diaz, Kimberly Tsang, and Paul Leible, Stevens Institute of Technology

Group photo of Haptic Hero design team.

Our team designed a music & rhythm-based video game created to be accessible to students who are visually impaired. The design takes inspiration from the existing game, Guitar Hero, and flips it with an accessible spin. Instead of prioritizing visual cues for gameplay, the game is focused on tactile cues (haptics) and audio cues, making it universally accessible for everyone, regardless of their visual abilities. 

A major issue that we tackled is the lack of accessibility within the gaming industry. Although the industry has made great strides in its implementation of accessibility features, the issue lies with products not being developed from the beginning with accessibility in mind. While there are plenty of opportunities for sighted students, students with visual impairments lack the same options for community-based connections through entertainment devices. Our product can change this by providing previously unavailable and limited entertainment opportunities to schools and homes.

MagnaStrap: a universal cuff requiring no fine motor skills for set-up
Marise Isaac, Rutgers University

Group photo of MagnaStrap design team.

Individuals with conditions like spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, or acquired brain injuries face fine motor impairments, impacting their ability to perform daily tasks independently. While the current universal cuff aids in holding items, it still demands fine motor skills for setup, limiting complete independence. To address this, a cuff utilizing magnets for quick item attachment and a new don/doff system without fine motor skills involvement is proposed. Stainless steel pieces on items attach magnetically to the cuff, simplifying usage, while a flexible, moldable material facilitates easy donning and doffing. The aim is for a one-size-fits-all design, compatible with commonly used household items. 

MILO: A Voice-Controlled Robotic Arm to Enhance Independence for Patients with Quadriplegia
Meghna Sundaram, Rachel Nolander, Gabriella Desch-Obi, Eva Potjer, Marissa Walsh, David Wong, Nikhil Nayak, Nicholas DePaula, Northwestern University Medical Makers

Group photo of MILO design team.

Introducing MILO: a groundbreaking solution for quadriplegic patients, designed to enhance autonomy and control. With its adaptable features like a height-adjustable arm and interchangeable attachments, MILO empowers users to manage electronic devices and daily tasks independently. Through its intuitive voice recognition interface, users can seamlessly interact with MILO to access essentials like phones and tablets, as well as perform tasks like getting water. MILO represents a significant leap forward in assistive technology, promising to revolutionize rehabilitation settings by fostering autonomy, dignity, and inclusion. Our collaborative efforts and iterative design approach ensure MILO's potential to profoundly impact the lives of its users, promoting greater independence and overall well-being.

Mariana Ospina Muriel, Matthew Kim, University of Pittsburgh

Group photo of Sweep-It design team.

For people who use wheelchairs and have limited hand function, dropping small items can be a significant issue. In particular, flat and/or round objects such as credit cards, coins, or pens are among the most challenging items to pick up. Existing pickup tools and techniques are prohibitively expensive, simply ineffective, or dangerous. Most existing major disadvantage is that it cannot be used by someone methods rely on hand function to squeeze a trigger, but a with limited hand function. To make things worse, limited hand function makes it even more difficult to keep hold of small objects and avoid frequent drops. After developing a concept inspired from competitive landscape analysis, rigorous design and prototyping processes were used to develop the Sweep-It. The Sweep-It is an accessory attachment to the Hook-It, an existing grabber tool that is designed for people with limited hand function.  The functional prototype was manufactured by FDM 3D printing.

2024 Rehabilitation Engineering and Research Center (RERC) on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Award:

The RERC on AAC, based at Penn State, is a collaborative center committed to advancing knowledge and producing innovative engineering solutions in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The RERC’s research and development program emphasizes strong tech transfer and employs a comprehensive dissemination plan to improve outcomes for children and adults with both developmental and acquired disabilities across the life span. The center is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90REGE0014). RESNA thanks the RERC on AAC for their support of the Student Design Challenge.

2024 RERC on AAC Award Winner:
Neuralis: Assistive Technology Designed to Restore Mobility and Independence for those with Severe Neuromuscular Conditions

Aryan Govil, Eric Yao - Synaptrix Labs, New York University - Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences

Over 5.4 million Americans are living with neuromuscular conditions like paralysis, ALS, and muscular dystrophy. These individuals have lost their mobility and independence, resulting in a dependence on wheelchairs. Introducing Neuralis: a noninvasive neural interface that allows wheelchair movement solely through brain activity and eye movements – a first of its kind. With just three external electrodes, it provides users with comfort and full control. Targeting individuals with total limb loss due to ALS, spinal cord injuries, and muscular conditions, Neuralis is compatible with all wheelchair brands, ensuring accessibility and eliminating the need for a new specialized wheelchair. Our vision is to create a world where every individual, regardless of physical limitations, can live a fulfilling and autonomous life. This technology can help paralyzed individuals integrate back into their communities, pursue their passions, and reconnect with their sense of purpose.

Find out more information on past SDC winners and finalists!

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