Amy Fong is a previous internship student who completed her fourth year placement at the EDGE Lab. She is currently finishing her last year in the Early Childhood Studies Program and has returned as a regular volunteer.
For her fourth year internship project, she created an “Adaptive Dollhouse” that included adaptive design pieces created at the EDGE Lab. She recreated and integrated many of these unique furniture pieces into her dollhouse in hopes to bring forth awareness of what adaptive design is, and what their functions are.
The special furniture pieces in the “Adaptive Dollhouse” can be seen and used as a learning tool to inform children about adaptive design.
The EDGE Lab welcomes our new undergraduate research assistant Lyubka Totina. Lyubka is a 3rd year student in Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management – Business Technology Management and will be working under the direction of Sherene Ng and Rubina Quadri on the Wearable Shoe Sensor commercialization project. Funding for the assistantship comes thanks to the Ryerson Summer Research Opportunities Program, and the Wearable Shoe Sensor project is funded by a grant from FedDev Ontario.
In March 2013, Sherene Ng, a recent graduate of the Early Childhood Studies program (Fall 2012), received a $54K FedDev Science and Engineering in Business Fellowship to start a business to commercialize a prototype that began as an idea during her 4th year internship. She was placed at the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab, where she learned about adaptive design. Adaptive design is a process for creating custom adaptations to meet the specific needs of a user.
With support from Dr. Jason Nolan, Assistant Professor, ECS and Director of the EDGE Lab and Rubina Quadri, a part-time undergraduate (ECS) and her field educator, she worked on creating an assistive device for people with low vision. Vlad Cazan, a Lab Technician at the EDGE Lab, helped her with the electronics for the prototype. The device is a wearable shoe sensor that vibrates to alert users when objects are in their walking path. The goal is to minimize tripping hazards and falls for people who may not be able to detect the objects on their own.
Moving forward, Sherene and Rubina will work closely to start up a business to commercialize adaptive design with the shoe sensor. Although Sherene never imagined that she would be an entrepreneur after graduating from the ECS program, she is grateful for the skills and knowledge she gained during her 4 years at Ryerson, which have enabled her to understand and identify needs for people with disabilities.
Students at the EDGE Lab recently showcased their work at the Faculty of Community Services Student Achievement Event. Interns Vivian Chan and Safiyah Nakhuda, featured the work they created during their field placement. Lab tech Rubina Quadri, presented a privacy divider built for a class research project about children’s privacy-seeking behaviour in group settings. Former intern Reilly Dow, created a poster summarizing what she learned at the Adaptive Design Association in New York when she was able to visit as part of her placement at the EDGE Lab.
These cardboard blocks made by Vivian Chan, are constructed to be a low cost alternative to expensive wooden block math sets.
Hard at work. This assistive device, built by Safiyah Nakhuda, is used to help someone get out of a chair on their own.
I’ve documented the process since then of the steps that I’ve taken to finish this project.
When I left off I had the layers of cardboard for the base and the legs glued together. Once it was dry I needed to sand the edges to make sure they were fairly even. This is especially important for the legs in order to have a stable seat.
The next step was to carve out to spaces to slide the legs in.
I then had to use a hot glue gun to stick the legs into the slots and nail them into place using dowels.
It’s starting to come together!
After nailing the dowels in, there were some weak spots in the legs. To make the weak spots stronger, I used a mixture of wood shavings and glue to fill in the holes. When it’s dry it becomes really hard.
Once this was dry I needed to sand all the edges one last time before I started a step called edging.
Edging smooths over the unfinished edges of any cardboard project. This process was sticky and messy. It reminded me of doing paper mache.
Here is my rocker completely edged and dry. I needed to sand the rough spots and smooth out any overlaps in the paper.
Once that is done it is time to prime and paint the rocker.
Overall I had a great time finishing this rocker. The most challenging part was in the beginning with cutting and gluing the cardboard. I quickly learned that selecting the right type of cardboard makes a huge difference in the quality and strength of the project. The great thing about making projects out of recycled cardboard is if you make a mistake, it’s not costly to try again.
The EDGE Lab’s artist in residence, Sae Kimura , created a miniature dollhouse. All the details on the house were made by adding or removing layers of cardboard. She wanted to make a piece that would not need to be painted and used the textures and colours that were already present in the cardboard.
Photos taken by Elizabeth Wilfred (Summer Intern 2012).
Here are some projects that volunteers are currently working on at the EDGE Lab:
Lab volunteer Charlie decided to make a set of drums out of tall tubes of cardboard. He has tubes of different sizes and is also trying out different materials for the skin. In the picture below he used tape.
Any changes he makes to the tubes alters the sound it will make. Here he is adding holes to the side.
Instead of using drumsticks, he decided to use something different. Here is a picture below:
When the string is pulled the lever will hit the drum. He attached a weight at the end of the string so the lever can easily bounce back.
He eventually wants to create multiple tubes and levers of different sizes to create a range of sounds.
Yuka has just completed a small table. The first picture shows her completed table but she soon realized that it can be tipped over easily. The legs that were on the table below did not provide enough support.
table with no base
She added a base to add extra support.
She is currently working on making a holder for the many rockers we have.
The piece in the picture below will support one rocker when it is on the shelf.
Here are a few of the support shelves attached to the base.
Now all she needs to do is add some dowels for extra support.
One of the latest projects at the EDGE Lab is the Talking Sleeve. This post will document past projects that have led up to the making of the sleeve.
It all started with this:
The blue cardboard computer stand shown above was originally created as an experiment. The EDGE Lab wanted to see what would happen when a computer that was accessible at child level was placed in a childcare setting. This computer stand was designed in a way that more than one child could access the computer at the same time. They weren’t sure what impact this would have once it was in the classroom.
An educator in the classroom noticed a high level of engagement from a student with special needs. This observation sparked the idea of a custom keyboard made specifically for this child, but it can be used for anyone that has difficulty with their fine motor skills.
The first adapted keyboard was made out of cardboard and custom buttons that are larger in size than a traditional keyboard. The keys on this first keyboard were close together. This made it difficult for the child to accurately press the keys she wanted.
Below is the second version of the keyboard with the keys spaced out more.
The different cardboard pieces would be laid out and fit around where the child is sitting. This design also had some problems and needed to be reworked. Even though the keys were spaced out enough, the vast size of this adapted keyboard made it difficult to reach around to all the keys.
Here is one part of the keyboard hooked up to a laptop.
From this, an idea emerged that would change the use of single letters to spell out words into using whole words when a button or key was pressed. The staff at the childcare centre discussed the child’s interest in a soft toy that said words when it was squeezed. With this information, the EDGE Lab decided to go into a slightly different direction and make soft buttons made of fabric. When the buttons are squeezed it would say its assigned word and display the word on a small screen.
Here is a video of lab technician, Rubina making the buttons:
This was a big leap that went from an adapted keyboard to a basic communicative device.
The EDGE Lab is currently working on the talking sleeve. This project builds on the fabric button idea. The goal is to create a wearable sweater that allows the person wearing it to press on different patches on the sleeve that would voice and display different words.
The sleeve itself has gone through it’s own set of stages. The picture below shows patches that were hand sewn with conductive thread which connects to snap buttons. The buttons then snap onto the circuit board.
Some tweaks have been made to this. The EDGE Lab has found a way to sew the conductive thread on with a sewing machine. Instead of snap buttons, small magnets are sewn in to the end of the sleeve to attach to the circuit board. This allows for an easier disconnection when it is time to wash the garment.
Here is a short video:
This video is only of the circuit board. The points that are touched mimics what would happen when the patches are pressed on the sleeve. This version has more words than the previous one, which only had 4 words. The circuit board has been programmed to page up or down to access more words. The voice can also be programmed to the voice of your choice.
Here is a picture of the part that connects the sleeve to the circuit board using small magnets instead of snap buttons.