Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 2:15pm
Fitness and game play took the top honors in this year’s RESNA Student Design Competition, which showcases creative and innovative assistive technology designs that help people with disabilities function more independently.
The 2015 competition attracted 45 entries from an international array of universities. Six semi-finalists were invited to attend RESNA 2015, where they presented their designs to a panel of judges, attended sessions, and networked with assistive technology professionals. The top three awards are:
- First place – Rhombus Rumbles: An Educational Game for Children with Hearing Disabilities; designed by So Yeon Park and Kanhika Nikam, Stanford University.
- Second place – SmartHub: A Personal Fitness Tracking Device for Manual Wheelchair Users; designed by Sarah Shaffer and Kyle Eakins, The Ohio State University.
- Third place – Design of Hitch Mounted Car Rack for a Handcycle; Garret Kryt, British Columbia Institute of Technology.
The prize for “Technology Most Likely to Become Commercially Available” was awarded to Kryt, a fourth-year undergraduate engineering student from British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, Canada. His project, “Design of a Hitch Mounted Car Rack for a Handcycle,” solved a problem for a client that owned a customized electric-assist handcycle that did not fit commercially-available racks. The prize, sponsored by the Center for the Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology (TREAT), comes with a $500 cash prize and access to TREAT educational and commercialization resources, including an internship at the TREAT facility in Lebanon, NH, to develop the product for market. TREAT is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) R24 network of rehabilitation resource centers (# R24HD065703) and is funded through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD). Read more about this award and the winning design.
The other three semi-finalist teams are:
- Designing an In-Home Scalable Robotic Exoskeleton and Tablet Gaming Suite for Hand Function Rehabilitation for Neurological Disorders; designed by Brittney English, Jennifer Hunter, Jonathan Tuck and George Tzintzarov, Georgia Institute of Technology.
- Therapeutic Device for Children with Hearing/Auditory Disabilities; designed by Matthew Wong, Esra Barut, Sanjuana Martinez Ceniceros, Wichita State University.
- Touch Ability Game and Puzzles; designed by Jane Hankins, Melody Rodriguez and Melissa Wolney, California Lutheran University.
“The designs in the competition were really excellent this year; the creativity of the students is really inspiring, and bodes well for the future of assistive technology,” said Emma Smith, OT, ATP/SMS, chair of this year’s Student Design Competition committee.
Student teams that enter the competition typically represent a wide variety of disciplines including mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering; computer information science; architecture; and physical and occupational therapy. Exposure to the professional assistive technology community at the RESNA conference provides many students with their entry into the field, and student semi-finalists have frequently moved on to become leaders in the field. This year’s competition was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Center for Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology (TREAT).