Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Traveling to Hubli and Visiting the Deshpande Foundation

From August 6th to August 9th the Assistive Technology team traveled from Hyderabad to Goa and then onto Hubli to visit the Deshspande Foundation.

The traveling to Goa and Hubli was definitely and adventure. It was a 2 hour plane ride from Hyderabad to Goa, then an hour and a hour car ride to the hotel. Then it was a 1 hour car ride to the beach. The beach was nice and the ocean very warm, which is a was strange for us being used to the Atlantic Ocean back home. Erin even had some fun getting an ankle bracelet and negotiating for the price!
Billy, David and Erin on a beach in Goa

The real crazy adventure was the extremely bumpy 5 hour car ride from Goa to Hubli. It was an extremely long ride but the views were amazing!

Then came the purpose of the trip, visiting the Deshspande Foundation. We met with Naveen, the CEO of the Deshpande Foundation and talked about our Assistive Technology program and our experiences with the Campus Catalyst Program at UMASS Lowell, through the Merrimack Valley Sandbox program.

We also visited Akshaya Patra, the worlds largest kitchen. Akshaya Patra feeds over 180,000 children in the Hubli area a day!

We also got a tour of Agastya International, which is a science center for children that also provide mobile science labs to schools far away from the main center.
Erin got a short demonstration on gyroscopes using a large bicycle wheel.

Traveling to Hubli was well worth it, but we found out there was a direct flight from Hyderabad to Hubli so we'll take that next time because it was two days of traveling.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Film City

A few weeks ago David Harrington, Erin Webster and William Gould spent a day at Film City, just outside Hyderabad. It was quite an experience, with the theme park and movie studio tours.
We got to tour a few of the movie sets and got to see how they are built. It was amazing to see how many sets could be constructed so close together and what kinds of optical illusions were used to make them seem bigger than they really were. There were both indoor and outdoor sets and the place was so large that we had to take buses to get around the sets.

Assistive Technology in Bhimavaram, India

From July 19th to July 27th, Professor Alan Rux, David Harrington and Erin Webster traveled to the Shri Vishnu Engineering College for Women in Bhimavaram, India. During this visit we help teach the girls about Assistive Technology, help them find clients and start developing solutions and choosing projects for individual clients.

Three different facilities were visited. The first was a School for the Blind. In the above picture you can see a blind student showing off a project that was developed by SVECW last year, and E-Stick, and she is using it to help get around. The E-Stick is a standard cane with a sonar distance sensor mounted to it to help detect obstructions sooner than the standard cane would.
Another facility that was visited was a small business that specializes in prosthetic limbs. At this facility we were given a demonstration on how some of the prosthetic limbs work and how they are made.We also visited a School for the Deaf. Here the students interacted with the children and at each of these facilities the girls from SVECW searched for individuals that they could help make their lives better. Some of the projects that came from these visits were specialized speech learning systems, improved E-Stick that also detects drops in elevation, and communication systems. Each of these devices are going to be custom designed to the individuals who the project is being constructed for.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Electric Tata Nano

William Gould started converting a Nano car to electric power at the start of the trip and stayed at BVRIT to work on it while the others visited the girls school. By the third week of the trip after David Harrington came back to help work on it as well. A few changes still need to be made pending the UMass Lowell students return to the US where they can mail the remaining parts needed to complete the conversion.

The Tata Nano is the worlds cheapest car and cost about $2,500USD.
Affordable cars are needed in India, and making it electric just adds to the affordability.

The main purpose of the project was to demonstrate the concepts of an electric vehicle to the BVRIT Students.

The last of the available parts are installed, and the car is ready to drive as soon as the BVRIT students receive the rest of the parts.

Lego Robotics with BVRIT Grade School

One of the projects during this trip was teaching Lego Mindstorm NXT robotics to grade school children next to BVRIT. Erin Webster and David Harrington both taught 7th and 8th children three different programs for the NXT, a Wandering program, a Line Follower and a Wall Follower.
The Robotics session went for 3 days for the first batch of students, each day bringing a different program activity each day. The robotics was a huge success and the students extremely excited about learning engineering through Lego Robotics!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Assistive Technology in India

From July 11th to August 13th, the UMASS Assistive Technology Team will be traveling to Hyderabad, Bhimavaram and Hubli, India to teach Assistive Technology. The team consists of David Harrington, Erin Webster, William Gould and Professor Alan Rux.

The purpose of Assistive Technology is to use the abilities of an engineer to develop a device that will help a particular person who is differently-abled. These devices are custom designed for an individual, and the engineer must meet with their client, understand their difficulties and design a device that will make their life better.

We will also be involved with Engineering Education using Assistive Technology, Robotics and Electric Vehicles.

We will be posting our adventures along the way here.