Thanks to a group of innovative students and experts, Kevin Thomas is able to achieve his goal to navigate the internet independently.
Kevin attends Scope Lilydale Lifestyle Options, and was one of the beneficiaries of the first Melbourne instalment of the Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) Makeathon last month. The event is a global movement bringing together people with disabilities and expert “Makers” to develop open source assistive technology to address everyday challenges.
Kevin loves watching Youtube videos and keeping up to date with the Richmond Tigers Football Club online. Due to his poor hand coordination, muscle strength, dexterity and vision, enjoying these activities previously required the support of friends, family and his support workers.
Kevin’s team, aptly named “Tiger Eyes” spent the 72 hour Makeathon working on an assistive technology solution to enable Kevin to use the internet independently. The team members came from many disciplines including biomedicine, allied health, programming and graphics.
The solution incorporates a mixture of bended acrylic for the base, an Arduino micro-controller, 3D printed switches (coloured and textured to differentiate the uses), and a mixture of low-cost parts from an electronics store.
Over the coming weeks, Mike McDermott, Customer and Community Engagement Manager at Scope will help finalise the solution so that it is ready for Kevin to use on a daily basis. Kevin and his support staff will be trained in how to use it, with the hope that similar solutions can be used by other people who Scope supports. All information on how to build this prototype, as well as the other prototypes developed at TOM will be made available on the TOM website in the near future.