Two Year 11 ME Program students who designed and developed mind-controlled prosthetic hands for their iSTEM major work were part of a team that this week won the University of Sydney’s Enabled by Design-athon competition.
St Philips Waratah students, Brandon Love and Thomas Vidler were invited to present their prosthetic hand innovation at an event hosted by the University’s Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning. They were also invited to join a team of six designers to create a device that would enable a person living with a disability to have a better quality of life as part of Enabled by Design-athon. The competition encourages design thinking methodologies to create accessible, usable and desirable technologies.
Applying the same skills and logic that they used for the prosthetic hand project, Brandon’s and Thomas’s team won the competition with an electronic wristband solution they called the Sensory Awareness Monitor. The band is worn by an autistic student to monitor anxiety levels, warning teachers when the student is becoming upset so that timely intervention can occur.
Aspect Hunter Special School in Thornton was also part of the design team which received $10,000 to form a new start-up business, a 16-week business accelerator course, and $20,000 for further development of their device by NSW Family & Community Services, Telstra, and ING Direct.
“RDA Hunter is absolutely delighted that its ME Program students are performing at this level. These boys are only 16 years old but they’re producing groundbreaking innovations. We congratulate Brandon and Thomas for their foresight and commitment as well as St Philips Christian College for nurturing their interest in STEM projects and careers.” Said RDA Hunter’s ME Program Director, Rick Evans.
St Philips Christian College iSTEM and Engineering Studies teacher, Mr David Bonzo said, “I wish to extend my sincerest congratulations to Brandon Love and Thomas Vidler for the excellent work they have undertaken in the iSTEM course over the past two years, and now, in Engineering Studies. They have exemplified the College’s core values and it has been my privilege to be their teacher.”