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Many of our students have developed a wonderful desire to design solutions for people with disabilities. As an adult, this makes me very proud, especially because we didn't encourage them in general particular direction.
Today, I wanted to share a quick sneak-peak into Anahi's mind. She's a brilliant young woman who continues to impress her teachers. She's a very hard worker, super helpful to her fellow students, and her impromptu guitar mini-concerts for her friends are pretty hilarious...especially because she doesn't know how to play guitar! Here she is!
Anahi decided that she wanted to make a "Smart" cane for blind people. She wants to create a cane that can read the environment around the user, connect to Bluetooth headphones, and tell the user helpful details about their surroundings.
After she thought of this, she started the process by thinking about the basic hardware she would need to start. She knew that she wouldn't fully understand everything she would need to create this just yet, but a "good enough for now" list was all she needed.
As she was researching, I stopped by her work area and I was very impressed to find her on websites (like the one in the first picture below) meant for industry professionals. I was going to ask if she needed help with anything, but she most definitely did not. She had several browser tabs open and was comparing optical distance sensors to infrared distance sensors and trying to determine which would be best for her purposes.
One of the things that makes this so impressive is that not only is English her second language, but she has never worked with electronics or sensors before...so that's TWO languages that she's figuring out and designing in at once. Further, she was not just unknowingly bumping around a few websites--she had actually identified multiple specific sensors (among dozens of each type) that would work based on the function she wanted her cane to have.
The next step in her process is to submit and parts order request to me (once she has her initial list), I'll order the parts, and she'll start in on the prototyping process.
As I've already said many times in this post, we're incredibly impressed with her. I hope you've all enjoyed this update--if you have, leave us some comments and share this post!