IdeaLab teams brainstorm access technology solutions at weekend workshop

Eight multidisciplinary student teams present innovative ideas to industry partners




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Dan Harel

More than 80 RIT students representing multiple disciplines participated in the RIT/Al Sigl IdeaLab this past weekend. Students were charged with creating products and services that provide improved access to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.

Eight teams of students and mentors representing a variety of disciplines spent the weekend brainstorming solutions to access technology problems during the RIT/Al Sigl IdeaLab. The interactive two-day workshop held at RIT’s Albert J. Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located in Student Innovation Hall, featured hands-on teamwork brainstorming meetings, Q&A session, and presentations to sponsors from the Al Sigl Community of Agencies in Rochester.

Following research of user needs, target market characteristics, business requirements and technological possibilities, students created two-dimensional illustrations, mock-ups and 3-D printed models in RIT’s industrial design shop and Construct maker space.

Richard DeMartino, endowed chair and director of the Simone Center, emphasized the collaborative effort within all of the RIT colleges including health sciences and technology, computing, industrial design and business.

“The intent of the program is to solve problems in a multidisciplinary way for our partners by bringing together technology, design and business to solve difficult problems, and then with the support of the sponsor and the desire of the students to actually realize them,” he said.

The following six projects were presented:

• Dynamic Arm Support—A standalone fixture providing adjustable assistance to a user’s arm to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion.

• Parental Control for Adults—Specially designed for adults in assisted living facilities, the monitoring system controls use of electronic devices to ensure user safety and compliance with the law.

• Help Dress—A product enabling community members with disabilities to dress independently.

• Float Safe—A device that allows people with tracheal feeding tubes to safely float vertically in water.

• Toilet Paper Dispenser—Dispenses an appropriate amount of toilet paper; designed for autistic children and adults.

• Device Tracker—Alerts individuals when they stray too far from important personal belongings such as keys, wallets or cell phones.

“I was most captivated by the students’ energy that lasted throughout the entire event as well as the innovative solutions that were created by the teams in a very short amount of time,” said Dan Harel, adjunct professor in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and one of the IdeaLab leaders.

More than 30 ideas were submitted for this fall IdeaLab session—and according to organizers, it was a record year for student and mentor participation. Teams have the option to continue development of their solutions at the Simone Center.

201510/idealab_october2015.jpg

Dan Harel

More than 80 RIT students representing multiple disciplines participated in the RIT/Al Sigl IdeaLab this past weekend. Students were charged with creating products and services that provide improved access to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.