General

What’s your big IDeA for making the world more accessible?

Do you have an IDeA for how to make the world easier to navigate for your peers that experience barriers to accessibility?

The 2016 Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) Student Competition wants to hear from you! IDeA is a design competition for Ontario undergraduate students which challenges you to come up with innovative solutions to accessibility issues. As an individual or with a team, participating in the competition empowers you to connect with industry, government and community partners to identify an issue, build a plan to tackle it, and implement your solution.

Among several reasons why you should think about putting your name into the competition include the opportunity to network with community partners, cash prizes, a sweet resume line, and, most importantly, the opportunity to make a difference in peoples’ lives.

To give you an idea of what kind of projects fit the bill for IDeA, let’s take a look at some finalists from U of T over the past few years.

1. The Swivet
2015 finalist, submitted by Liam D’Souza, Angela Chen, Mazhar Jabakhanji, and Adithya Prashant

The Swivet allows hockey players who use wheelchairs to more easily transport their equipment through an attachment on the back of their wheelchair. On their poster, the team writes that the chair aims to “foster greater independence in the players’ daily lives.”

Someone holding the Swivet Team award for 2015 Idea of the Year with the team pointing to their poster and showing their product. Text Reads: 2015 Idea of the Year, The Swivet, Bonus Prize Winner, Liam D'Souza, Angela Chen, Mazhar Jabakhanji, Adithya Prashant

Image courtesy the IDeA team at Council of Ontario Universities.

2. C.A.R.E for Huntington’s
2015 finalist, submitted by Caulan Rupke, Siddharth Pai, Tianshi Cao, and Jiali Yan

C.A.R.E stands for Chorea Attenuation and Relief Exoskeleton. C.A.R.E. is designed to help Huntington’s patients by “minimizing the effects of involuntary muscle movements in their day-to-day lives.”

3. Left Neglect
2013 finalist, submitted by Erik Gluk, Devang Saxena and Ali Al-Safi

A collaboration with St. John’s Rehabilitation at Sunnybrook Hospital, Left Neglect is designed for users with Hemiagnosia, which is often developed in elderly patients following strokes. Left Neglect is a “levelling device” which helps such patients become more aware of their posture and proximity to objects.

Participants in front of the Left Neglect poster.

Image courtesy the IDeA team at Council of Ontario Universities.

4. Temporary, Modular Stair Ascension Drive
2012 finalist, submitted by Ayman Alabdallah, Lawrence Buchan, Ali Kianirad, Mario Kovacevic, Vaheesar Manivasakan, and Andrew Woollard

The Temporary, Modular Stair Ascension Drive was designed by students in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the university. It’s an extension for staircases in residential homes to create accessibility for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility assistance devices.

Learn more about the IDeA contest and how you can get started on your submission on their website.

danielle

Danielle is the summer 2015 Communications Intern at the Office of Student Life. She wrapped up her undergrad this year and will be entering a master's program at U of T in the fall, studying in the Faculty of Information. She previously studied English and Jewish Studies with a minor in History. Danielle studied abroad twice, in Jerusalem and Berlin, did a service learning course, and did a few work-study positions. Her favourite part of her undergrad was working at The Varsity, the campus newspaper. She was the editor-in-chief in her final year. She's passionate about good writing, student journalism, reading, knitting, long walks (on the beach or otherwise), and table tennis, which she insists she is very good at, though her friends may not agree. You can reach her on twitter @lifeatuoft over the summer if you want to chat!

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