The AbilityOne® Design Challenge encourages students to develop assistive technologies that empower people with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment. Third place winner this year was Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami who created the A.H.A.B. (Adaptive Hand Assistive Brace) which helps individuals with limited dexterity and wrist movement to increase their productivity and efficiency with electronic devices and writing utensils. The device has a swivel adaptor on the top which holds a pen, stylus and pencil which are easily used by people with impaired function in their hand, wrist, or fingers. The brace conducts its own electricity through movement.
The team's inspiration came from Gulliver alumnus James Woody Beckham, 23, who suffered a C5 spinal injury in January 2011. Beckham had been paralyzed in the lower half of his body, triceps and pectorals resulting in limited function in his wrist and fingers along with some movement in his biceps and deltoids. He has full range of motion in his shoulder and the ability to bend his arm without fully extending it.
The A.H.A.B. allows Beckham to take out a pen, pencil or stylus to use where needed and allows him to use his ipod and ipad thus giving him more independence now that he can accurately use touch screens, and will allow him to continue with his education.
Dr Carlos Lavernia, an orthopaedic surgeon and biomedical engineer, gave feedback about the device during its creation.
Credit: Institute for Economic Empowerment
Top image of the Engineering Team: Raider Voice