The Grandchildren Engineered Products for Grandma and Grandpa
Despite the coronavirus restrictions, Mechanical Engineering students at the SCE succeeded in producing assistive accessories for the third-age population and for persons with a disability. For some students the inspiration to develop the products came from their parents or grandparents. The course was recognized by the College Dean of Students Office as a course that combines social involvement and all course students will receive a scholarship.
The aim of the project, as specified to the third-year students in the Mechanical Engineering department at the Be’er Sheva campus, was to plan and produce assistive accessories for a rehabilitative walker and/or wheelchair. According to the course coordinator, Dr. Nir Trabelsi, a senior lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering department, “despite the current times and the coronavirus crisis the students succeeded in presenting actual products and a working prototype. The projects demonstrate an impressive combination of engineering abilities, creativity and social awareness and provide a solid foundation for development going forward.”
As noted, some of the students were inspired first-hand from their parents or a grandparent before developing the accessories. For example: the students Yamit Saada, Naor Malul, Yagel Eliyahu and Kobi Haddad investigated the difficulty of getting up from a chair or the sofa to a walker and developed an adjustable handle that attaches to the walker and makes it easier to grasp and get up.
Saada (24), a resident of Netivot, recounted: “My grandfather who is 83 years old lives near us in Netivot. Before the lockdown period I met him and examined how he gets up from the sofa. I saw that he had to use his whole body in order to get up, and together with my partners to the project we developed the HelpUp handle that enables the elderly person to grasp the walker at a more convenient angle and more safely.”
The students Oren Lerner and Omri Yaakov Adgoicho, for example, developed a cushion that helps raise the patient’s legs onto the wheelchair footrest. Ariel Cohen and Uriel Ben investigated and discovered a real need for a universal telephone stand that can be attached to a wheelchair, a walker or a hospital bed. They developed an easy-to-use product that can be adjusted as needed simply and efficiently. Varda Atmala and Yossi Dadon developed a folding seat that attaches to the walker and enables walker users to rest and sit for various activities.
It should be noted that the course was recognized by the College Dean of Students Office as a course that combines social involvement and all course students will receive a NIS 500 scholarship.
Dr. Gedalya Mazor, head of the Mechanical Engineering department: “The multi-disciplinary training we provide our students in the Mechanical Engineering department and in the college, gives them a significant advantage in planning and developing innovative products. This was a challenging semester because in effect we didn’t meet frontally with the students and learning was remote via Zoom, with the instructors printing the products at the college on 3D printers. Nonetheless, throughout the semester, during the period prior to the lockdown, as long as it was permitted, the students met with their grandfather and grandmother, tried the products and accessories they had developed with them, and thus, despite the constraints created by the coronavirus, the students succeeded in developing and producing a high-quality prototype of the products and accessories, which will no doubt ease the life of the elderly and persons with a disability.”