How can a tiny sensor be used to adapt the world? You get that sensor into the hands of someone who is passionate about making a positive impact on the world one person at a time. You get that sensor into the hands of a dad of a child with extra needs who can leverage that sensor to improve the life of his loved one. You get that sensor in the hands of someone who sees the potential of using it in a unique and innovative way for the better good of society. I am that dad with a vision for how sensors can change the world for my daughter, and I look forward to sharing my story with you at this year’s Sensors Expo & Conference.
Our world is filled with sensors. They are used to monitor our environments, keep us safe, entertain, notify and motivate us. We benefit from sensors every day and most of us don’t even notice their impact. At Adapt the World labs we see the impact that sensors have on people and how they enhance and improve their lives. We aim to extend that impact to the most vulnerable among us, our citizens with extra needs. Technology and sensors are being used to provide access to individuals who may not have had access before, and with recent advances, access is becoming more of a reality every day. With the advent of the maker movement, ideas and solutions to address everyday low instance problems are popping up by the thousands. For example, gloves have been developed that interpret a person communicating in sign language, vests that provide haptic feedback for collision avoidance enabling a blind person to better navigate their world, vision systems supplement Seeing Eye dogs and canes, and NFC tags are being used in toys to help teach children braille.
The latter is the idea that came to me when I read a stat that among the blind and visually impaired there is upwards of a 70% unemployment rate. I also read that many of the unemployed in this group where not braille literate. It was then that I came to understand the importance of braille literacy. I wanted to change this reality for our daughter Rebecca who has a progressive retinal disease and will ultimately lose her vision. I did not want her to be another statistic. I wanted to make sure that her future was not relegated to a life of isolation. So, I rolled up my sleeves and leveraged my many years of product development experience and created the BecDot, a braille toy for children who need or will eventually need to learn braille.
The idea was simple. Take a low-cost approach to a typically expensive braille reader and design it such that it would standup to a 2-6-year-old and make it cost effective so that families of all economic backgrounds could afford. I knew what I wanted to do but was still unsure about how to approach it until I attended the Medical Sensors Design Conference and listened to a presenter discuss a 3D printed arm being developed for a young boy. This was the motivation I needed, coupled with the proliferation of sensors that enabled this device, to kickstart the development of BecDot. This journey is the basis of my session at this year’s Medical Sensors Design Conference a component of Sensors Expo & Conference 2018.
We are truly living in an exciting time where sensors and technology can be used to make a significant impact in someone’s life. I invite you to attend my presentation, “Adapting the World through Technology” on Tuesday, June 26th at Sensors Expo & Conference.