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Personal Statement (rev. Feb 26)

February 26th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Assistive Technology as an Artistic Expression Tool (working title)

Personal Statement (rev. Feb 26)

The idea of this project began in the fall of 2005 when I saw the joy on the face of a young boy with severe physical impairment as he played a video tracking game “The Reach Project” presented by Marianne Petit. The game was designed to be able to play while remaining on the floor but at one point the boy suddenly stood up. A simple interactive video tracking technology encouraged kids to move their bodies and gave them a lot of joy. This is the reason why I took an assistive technology class the following semester.

When I was seeking a project idea on assistive technology, I visited a high school for physically challenged students on Long Island. I met a boy who had cerebral palsy so he used a power wheelchair and showed a jerky movement but he was eager to take photographs. He was excited by all the words related to this such as camera, flash, Canon, Sony, album, taking a picture, etc. After much trial and error, I designed an adaptive digital camera interface by hacking a remote controller of a digital camera to make it possible to attach various switches which could be manipulated by head, foot, hand, or finger. It allows students with various disabilities to take photographs. I took the kid on a photography tour around the school and he took pictures of various objects such as his therapist, hallway, classrooms, and a picture on a wall. Then he stopped and took a picture of a board that had stars that children wrote their wishes on. He seemed to concentrate trying to take the best possible picture. He said to his therapist that he was getting closer to his own wishes to be a photographer. I can’t forget his huge smile.

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