Ariel students tackle accessibility

“Despite the technological progress in the last few years and developments in the field of accessibility to the blind, to date a mobile, inexpensive and easy-to-use device does not exist."

By
August 23, 2016 21:04
2 minute read.
A STABILIZING CANE

A STABILIZING CANE. (photo credit: COURTESY ARIEL UNIVERSITY)

 
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A mobile device for the blind that reads messages, a chair that helps with standing and a device that helps with sitting on the toilet.

Graduates of Ariel University’s department of mechanical engineering and mechatronics have developed solutions to benefit and ease the lives of the elderly and the physically impaired in sight and movement. The projects were developed into working prototypes as part of a final project with the guidance of different professors from the department.

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Yaniv Wolman, Liav Shirmi and Guy Indik, under the guidance of Dr.Itzik Sapir, Dr. Shimon Linykin, Tamir Ilan and Moshe Kelman, developed a device for blind reading that translates to braille letters. It enables the reading of text messages and emails from a cellphone.

“Despite the technological progress in the last few years and developments in the field of accessibility to the blind, to date a mobile, inexpensive and easy-to-use device does not exist,” Wolman said. “The most common solution today is a voice-indicator app that reads messages received through the microphone, which violates the privacy of the blind and is problematic in a noisy setting. In addition, the blind, just like seeing people, do not want to give up on their ability to read.”

According to Shirmi: “Our goal was planning and building a mobile and inexpensive device to serve as a portable and dynamic screen of braille letters and enables conversion of text messages and emails from a cellphone to braille letters.”

The team wanted the device to be easy to operate using one hand, be portable and not need to be permanently connected, have Bluetooth communication, an ability to convert regular text to braille letters, standard braille compartments, a 12-hour wait time and an hour and half of work time, be lightweight (up to 750 grams) and cost no more than NIS 3,000.


Seir Yuval, Almog Ido and Lerner Ron, in partnership with Asuta Hospital and under the guidance of Dr.

Itzik Sapir, developed a chair that rises up to standing. It was developed for the quick rehabilitation of heavy patients in intensive-care units. When the patient sits and buckles up, the seat straightens up slowly so that the patient can rise and walk. It is portable, does not need to be connected to electricity and does not need any special infrastructure at the medical center. The project will be nominated for a patent shortly.

Zidon Niv, under the guidance of Prof. Zvi Shiller, developed a device to assist sitting on a toilet. The device supports the user when he sits and gets up from the toilet. It is geared toward elderly people who have difficulty doing so on their own as a result of weakness or injury.

Hodedani Roee, Dalal Noam and Kolton Moshe, under the guidance of Prof. Zvi Shiller, developed a stabilizing cane. It detects when the user has lost stability and changes its configuration accordingly.

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