For Developing Assistive Technology, I’m working with Strivright, a school for children ages 2-5 with hearing impairment. They are renovating their current facilities, and are making two sensory rooms for their students to go into. My task, along with Xi Liu, and two Occupational Therapist students (as well as another group featuring two more ITP students) is to contribute to these new sensory rooms.
Here are the rooms in progress.
After consulting with the school and the therapists in our group, after lots of brainstorming, we’re proceeding with two ideas for the school (it was once going to work together as a fort, but now will be separated for functionality reasons for the school).
Firstly, we are making a sensory wall like no other. It will be a large wall with magnetic paint, and an image applied over. Many objects will have magnets on the back, and will stick to the wall. There will be some painted strips that are conductive paint, and when the objects are put over those, it will complete a circuit that will trigger lights, sounds, haptic feedback, or motors. The goal is for the feedback to be grandiose for those children who need lots of sensory input.
MIT’s high low tech group provided inspiration with their wall (ours will just be like this on steroids):
Fabrication that will be needed for the wall include:
- Making the wall itself through CNC and manual labor to attach everything
- Making the objects to be set on the wall with the laser cutter, CNC router and 3D printer
Here’s our small prototype of a painting with magnetic paint and (more obvious) circuits:
The other element we’re making is a ‘star ceiling’ that’s using a screen that the kinect reads it’s depth, and animates images that it projects back to the screen. The inspiration for this is the firewall from a few years ago. We will hang the screen above them and have the children reach up to use it (to help with core strength and mobility). Right now, we picture the projection being stars that children can move around with their hands, and there will be audio and visual feedback as they do.
The fabrication for this is a bit simpler, with a frame for the screen needed, along with something to safely keep that propped up. Ideally it will blend in with the theme of the projection, however.
Here is a quick test with a screen, graciously provided by Craig Pickard, and some very basic Processing sketches to get the feedback worked out:
These projects are going to be great and very worthwhile, and a lot of labour. But I’m dedicated to getting these done this semester to be able to present something to the school.