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Impactive’s Projects in the midst of the Pandemic

In a time of turbulence and tribulation, Project Impactive has maintained its drive and ultimate goal in striving towards producing sustainable and innovative engineering solutions for shortcomings in disabled communities. On the tail end of our third pandemic, it has perhaps become more obvious than ever how imperative developing equalizing technologies for less abled students has become, and how developing engineering innovations has become the ideal way forwards to closing these ostensible gaps in quality in life. Though the regulations imposed by lockdown laws has prohibited many of the in-person projects and events the charity would normally have run, we have attempted to persevere in maintaining the same quality of projects that we would normally have run with.


One of our recent projects, continuing from last year, has been the Piano Pedal Assistance Project. This is a project initiated last year and under continued management of our current executive team. With team members Bryan Ko, Charles Constant, and Michal Pawlik running it, the project consists of providing an efficient, viable solution to the inability of a wheelchair-bound client to use the pedals on their piano effectively. An often-forgotten part of disabled life has been the deprivation of basic joys to be found in life, such as the simple sweet beauty to be found in the playing of music, hidden away by the more obvious obstructions to basic amenity access that we often think of. The ultimate goal, “is to make a device that can activate the pedals of a piano for a wheelchair bound client”, Andrew Daou says. “We are trying to create a single button switch device that could be attached to the client’s wheelchair”. This is turning out to be an excellent project, one which will allow people without the use of their legs to play as fluidly and beautifully on a piano as they otherwise would be able to. Another project we have been working on is the Joy of Sound Strummer Project, another object aimed at piano-players, this time with the intention of providing a foot-based solution to people who no longer have the use of their arms. The ultimate aim of a project like this would similarly be the implication of a solution to allowing disabled people to play the piano as fluidly as they did before.




Another exciting initiative that the charity has been running this academic year is the Accessibility Challenge that is being operated by our outstanding Outreach team. The challenge involved two school forming nine separate teams, (Newman Collegiate Sixth Form and Brampton Manor Academy) coming together to present competing product ideas that addressed real-life accessibility related problems. The Accessibility Challenge was a hackathon which encouraged students to think independently and proactively about creating viable solutions, much in the vein of many of our engineering programs that we run at university level. The best design was awarded a £50 voucher and was made using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software.


Michi Aneez, head of Project Impactive’s Outreach team and the leading figure behind running of the event, told us a bit about her experience of the event. “It was hectic from an organisational point of view, to say the least!”, she said. “But just seeing all the students’ creative ideas was incredibly worth the work.” CAD software is often used by university students in a wide range of applications, but perhaps proved “daunting” to school students who had less than three days to learn how to use it.


“My favourite moment was seeing all the student submissions come through. I remember being just being in awe of all the designs that the students made — and that was before they even presented their ideas during the Finale, so imagine how amazed I was when watching the presentations!” The ideas presented from the various teams were impressive in their ambitious projects, all aiming towards designs that would improve and benefit the lives of someone who had cerebral palsy (as specified in the project brief that was handed to students). One group’s design advertised a “complex and intricate design” that was also “stylish and fashionable, as well as being strong and sturdy for the user”.


They ended up designing a “large unique gap in the middle of the holder to allow placements of mugs/cups with handles. This increases the amount of different sizes of cups which increases the usability of the holder. As a result, customer satisfaction will increase.” The bravado and ambition of many of the students is to be commended, as well as their innovative approaches to using this daunting new software.


As Michi Aneez tells us, the project was a resounding success, with students and mentors collaborating perfectly to approach these problems with innovation and inventiveness. She tells us, “Despite the fact that they was conducted all via virtual platforms, we in the Outreach Team can definitely say that this event wouldn’t have been possible without our fabulous CAD mentors there to assist the students and teach them how to use Fusion 360. Indeed, the quality of work submitted was a testament to both the students’ skill as well as the CAD Mentors’ excellent support.” The Accessibility Challenge was a brilliant display of the opportunities that the future holds for both Project Impactive, and innovative engineering solutions in general, in promising differing ways for easing the lives of those living with disabilities.


Laurence Chen

Writer

Marketing Team

Project Impactive


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