The clients working at Challenge Unlimited, Inc. will now find their jobs easier, thanks to a bright electronics engineering team from Triad High School. The team, in partnership with Challenge Unlimited, was awarded 2nd Place in the 2018 SourceAmerica Design Challenge on Wednesday, April 11th.
The Triad students partnered Challenge Unlimited, a non-profit social enterprise that provides employment opportunities to individuals with significant disabilities, to build and customize an assistive technology solution geared toward improving the work environments of individuals with disabilities. In March, the team was chosen as 1 of 5 high school Design Competition finalists across the nation. All finalists were invited to visit Washington, D.C. this week for the finals competition, where they were each given an opportunity to present their solutions in front of a panel of judges.
The individuals involved with this project include 5 electronics engineering students (Rachel Bradshaw, Cameron Meyer, Kaitlyn Dempsey, and Zachary Winslow), their engineering team coach (Mr. Andrew Brendal), and Challenge Unlimited’s Director of Production (April Imming). During the project, the team met several times with one of Challenge Unlimited’s clients, Linda Sue, to understand the difficulties of her job and develop a solution. Linda Sue is a woman living with a disability, whose job at Challenge Unlimited is to tear off labels in an assembly line. Linda Sue was having difficulty with properly tearing off the labels on the perforated tear lines, which was causing her some frustration. By interviewing Linda Sue and observing her work, the team determined that a customized “jig” apparatus would help accommodate her needs while increasing her productivity.
After designing the simple and straight-forward apparatus, a prototype was given to Linda Sue to test out. The apparatus was a success, allowing Linda Sue to reduce her average assembly time by 49.56%. The device has significantly increased Linda Sue’s independence on the job, while maximizing her productivity and lowering her stress.
Linda Sue is very happy with the tools that the Triad High School team has provided her. When asked for her thoughts on the jig apparatus, she stated, “I never did it this way before. I like it.” The engineering team is equally happy, stating that this has been their “most favorite project they’ve done during their high school careers.”
A link to the team’s Design Challenge video can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SZAvXIxsVA
Challenge Unlimited is extremely proud of the Triad High School engineering team, their innovation, initiatives, accomplishments, and for making a difference for people with disabilities.