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April 27, 2017

CREATE Symposium Showcases Tech Inventions Designed to Improve Workplace for New Yorkers With Disabilities

Category: General — NYSID @ 6:22 pm

Doug Rosa, an engineering student at Union College, speaks from the heart when he describes his participation in CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology).

“Working with Schenectady Arc to develop a technology that would be easy for its greenhouse workers to use was very rewarding,” he said. “In the past, I’ve worked one-on-one with children with special needs. This project taught me the value of using my engineering to design one system that will benefit many people. The vision at Schenectady Arc of helping people to the best of their ability inspired me to do the same.”

During the CREATE Symposium, Union College engineering student Doug Rosa discusses his team's assistive technology for greenhouse workers with disabilities at Schenectady Arc

Doug was part of a team that created a Greenhouse Temperature Controller, a programmable grow bed that uses heating pads to regulate temperatures for plants.

The group worked with Maple Ridge, a campus of Schenectady Arc, to develop the user-friendly products. Overall, students have found the work to be creative and extremely meaningful, as these inventions have the ability to improve livelihoods and increase productivity for individuals with disabilities.

Union College and Schenectady Arc were among a record eight colleges/universities and eight NYSID member agencies that participated in NYSID’s third annual CREATE Symposium on April 26 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. CREATE is an initiative sponsored by NYSID that brings undergraduate and graduate student engineers and professors from colleges and universities across New York State together with NYSID organizations that employ individuals with disabilities.

During the CREATE Symposium, 15 teams showcased prototypes of technology inventions designed to increase productivity and improve the livelihoods of New Yorkers with disabilities.

Participating NYSID member agencies included: ABVI Goodwill; Arc of Livingston-Wyoming; Arc of Steuben; Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey; Human Technologies; LAICO Industries; Lifespire; and Schenectady Arc.

Participating colleges included: Alfred University; City College of New York; Manhattan College; Mohawk Valley Community College; Rochester Institute of Technology; SUNY Alfred; Union College; and University of Rochester.

Among the New York State legislators who attended the CREATE Symposium: Senator Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan); Senator Joseph Griffo (R/C/IP-47); Senator Joseph Robach (R/C/IP-Rochester); Senator Catharine Young (R/I/C-Olean); Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D/I/WF-Forestburgh); Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam); and Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie).

Spectrum NewsWNYT NewsChannel 13NEWS10 ABC, RIT University News, Manhattan College NewsWXXI and Wyoming County Free Press were among the media outlets who previewed or covered the CREATE Symposium.

Manhattan College students display their chemical dispenser designed to accurately and efficiently dispense chemicals for Lifespire custodial workers with disabilities

Zahra Shahbazi, Manhattan College professor, oversaw teams that designed a Mechanical Hardware Dispenser and Chemical Dispenser in collaboration with Lifespire. “CREATE provided us with a great opportunity to not only practice engineering concepts in a real life problem, but also contribute to improve productivity of people with developmental disabilities,” she said. “It was great to see our students so passionate and committed to make this project a success.”

Celina Cavalluzzi, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey director of day services, was impressed with City College of New York’s collaboration on assistive technology for her agency. “Being part of CREATE has been a truly rewarding experience,” she said. “CREATE allowed us to partner with City College’s Grove School of Engineering to tackle obstacles that make finding employment difficult for people with disabilities. The students came up with several assistive technology solutions, including smart phone applications that help people with Autism Spectrum Disorders communicate with supervisors, and a SmartCane that detects obstacles and automatically reroutes the walker.”

This year’s inventions also included:

Process Management – Efficiency system for ordering, printing and shipping, using scanners

Ergonomic Improvement – Cart to improve efficiency of an apparel factory

Panoramik – Mobile panoramic imaging system to assist visually-impaired workers

Therapeutic Virtual Environments – Virtual Reality system to better train workers with autism

Mechanical Hardware Dispenser – Partially-automated system to weigh and load hardware into boxes

Wire Separation Tool – Allows workers to accurately and efficiently separate wires for a wire splitting contract

Cotton Fabric and Synthetic Fiber Recycling Systems – Convert cotton clothing donated to Goodwill that cannot be re-sold into shredded material that can be re-sold for thermal and acoustic insulation, acoustic tiles, bulletin boards, furniture and air filters

Project Roller System – Device to help workers with developmental disabilities roll instruction packets

Stapel – Staple remover for document shredding

For more information on CREATE, visit: http://www.createnysid.net.




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