Assisting others through assistive technology
Approximately 3% of Singaporeans are living with a disability. However, the needs of persons with disabilities often remain overlooked and they continue to face myriad challenges in independent living, due to the lack of availability and access to appropriate and affordable assistive technology. Singapore is also facing a rapidly aging population that is undergoing similar challenges.
EWB-Asia partners with welfare organisations that work directly with these individuals, and supports them through assistive technology programmes. Through these programmes, volunteers will engage directly with persons with disabilities, understand their needs and challenges, and develop technology that meets their needs. Volunteers will experience how technology can help to lower self-imposed and societal barriers, enabling these individuals to live more independently and thrive in the community.
Projects with the AWWA School
Children with special needs should not miss out the joy of playing with toys just because they have difficulty operating small ON and OFF buttons. The Hack-a-Toy project aims to bring volunteers together to modify such toys by attaching a new, larger push button for easy activation. This not only restores their joy in playing, but also encourages movement and the improvement of motor skills.
Organised in collaboration with SG Enable, the first session was conducted for students with special needs at the Asian Women’s Welfare Association (AWWA) School on 7 November 2014.
Want to make your own switch adapted toys? Download the Hack-a-Toy instruction manual here!
Projects with SPD
The SPD Specialised Assistive Technology Centre assesses, recommends and trains new users in the use of motorised wheelchairs. As these new users are unfamiliar with the sensitivity of the controls, it is common for them to lose control of the wheelchair, causing panic and potential harm to themselves and their trainers. The aim of this project is to develop a universal remote killswitch for motorised wheelchairs, to facilitate the training process.
The SPD Specialised Assistive Technology Centre has a resource base of ICT devices that their clients can tap on to assist with rehabilitation and daily living. The LEAP motion sensor has potential for use in rehabilitation, through detection and gamification of the movements of the fingers, to help people regain fine motor movement in their hands and fingers.
Projects with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS)
The CPAS School caters to a wide spectrum of children with cerebral palsy, and their higher functioning academic students follow the mainstream PSLE syllabus in school. In this project, we will be working in collaboration with CPAS teachers and sponsor IBM to create equipment to enable CPAS students to engage in science experiments, and spark their interest in science topics within the PSLE syllabus. These lesson plans will supplement CPAS’s existing teaching materials and will be showcased to teachers from special needs schools across Singapore.
Education and awareness
EWB-Asia conducts and participates in various educational and outreach initiatives to engage and excite schools, corporates, and other groups in learning about appropriate technology, and raise awareness of the impact these technologies have in empowering and improving the quality of lives of disadvantaged communities.
The IDA Labs-on-Wheels is an initiative by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) that aims to seed interest and excite students to study technology. A bus will be retrofitted and will travel to primary schools to conduct fun lessons and expose students to the possibilities that can be created with technology.
EWB-Asia will be collaborating with sponsor IBM to develop a lesson plan for the IDA Lab-on-Wheels, teaching students about wearables and how they can be used to assist the elderly and disabled in daily living.