Northeastern students design and build devices to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities

phys.org | 4/24/2019 | Staff
Kaliela101 (Posted by) Level 3
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Kevin Leiser starts with his eyes closed and his back to the target. As he turns and raises the compound bow, he keeps his eyes shut, listening to the beeping in his headphones. He adjusts his aim until the beeps merge into a solid tone that comes through evenly in both ears. He draws back an arrow, makes a few final adjustments, and fires.

Leiser, a fifth-year student studying electrical engineering at Northeastern, usually shoots with his eyes open. But he has spent the past two semesters working with a team of his peers to build a system that would enable visually-impaired individuals to aim and fire a bow on their own.

Device - Shooters - Sense - Accuracy - Sense

"We wanted to make a device that enables blind archery shooters to shoot with some sense of accuracy, while also giving them some sense of independence while they do it," says Leiser.

The device was just one of the projects displayed by undergraduates in Northeastern's Enabling Engineering student group at the annual showcase earlier this month. Students in the group work to design and build devices to improve the lives of people with physical and cognitive disabilities.

Connection - Clients - Waleed - Meleis - Associate

"We're really focused on connection with our clients," says Waleed Meleis, an associate professor and associate chair of electrical and computer engineering who advises the group. "We don't just build something in a vacuum."

Other projects included a modified exercise device that will play music when students use it, encouraging them to keep pedaling; a clamp to help a woman with muscular dystrophy put her hair into a ponytail with one hand; and a sensory tray with interesting objects that can be attached to a wheelchair to keep with the attention of a client with cognitive disabilities.

Alex - Rivas - Student - Bioengineering

"You have to be really creative," says Alex Rivas, a fifth-year student studying bioengineering. "It's always daunting at first—Where are...
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