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Year 10 students engineer a helping hand

Students from St Catherine's School Toorak, Victoria University's School of Engineering and Science and Akorn Educational Services have been working together to enhance the experiences of people with disabilities.

Part of the work experience of St Catherine's School Year 10 students was to undertake the Engineering Students at Work program, in conjunction with Akorn Educational Services (which devised the program), Scope, and Victoria University's School of Engineering.

Five students were asked to develop a tool that addressed the needs of people with intellectual and physical disabilities as well as the visually impaired, to enhance their experience and improve hand-eye coordination.

The students visited their 'end-users' at Scope to ascertain needs, then went into the workshop for five days five days using VU's engineering laboratories and guidance from engineering lecturer John Chlond.

"The students developed designs and blueprints to create the 'iThing' a box with motion and touch sensors, and a mirror for depth perception that activates lights and sounds," Mr Chlond said.

VU engineering students then produced a working prototype which will be presented to Scope.

There is potential for further commercial development following the prototype stage.

The Engineering Students at Work program aims to provide realistic engineering experiences for secondary school students. 

What: Year 10 students from St Catherine's Girls School have developed an enrichment activity tool to assist hand-eye coordination for the disabled. The tool, the 'iThing' is being presented by the students to representatives of their clients at Scope (formerly Spastic Centre).

Where: Engineers Australia, 21 Bedford Street North Melbourne

When: 1pm, 1 December 2010 

Media contact: Jessica Jury

  • Phone: +61 3 9919 4701
  • Mobile: +61 405 610 953

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