Carleton sweeps IDeA contest: accessible design top three spots
A lower-cost, more functional prosthetic hand produced on a 3-D printer won the top prize in the Council of Universities’ (COU) Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition, designed to break down barriers to accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Electronics students Tim Inglis, Alim Baytekin, Natalie Lavasseur and Alborz Erfani took top spot. This is the second consecutive win for Carleton. The first runner up was the industrial design team of Ruby Hadley, Carmen Liu and Andrew Theobald that developed a variety of assistive devices for users in rural Uganda requiring better mobility so that they could participate in small business. The second runner up was Neil Voornneveld, whose navigation system alerts users to obstacles in their environment and provides location on command via audio.
“The 3-D prosthetic hand is an extraordinary invention that could make the world far more accessible for anyone missing a limb,” says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph.
The prosthetic hand is more nimble when it comes to opening doors or picking up small items such as eggs, and costs considerably less than the average of $15,000 for prosthetic limbs, its inventors say.
Inglis and Baytekin will continue to work on the prosthetic hand over the summer. They have received support from Tom Skinner, MEng/72, who donated funds to run a two-year pilot project that will help engineering students begin to commercialize a fourth-year group project.
Ontario universities are committed to the provincial goal of creating an accessible environment on campus, and in all walks of life. The IDeA competition asks Ontario undergraduate students to use their creativity to come up with ideas to turn that goal into reality.
This year, 18 of 21 Ontario universities participated in the contest, which is supported through the Ontario government’s EnAbling Change Program and COU’s partners at the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario in the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.
Next year’s competition will focus on parasport and active living in honour of the upcoming Pan American and Para-Pan American games taking place in Ontario.