SourceAmerica announces the finalist teams for its annual Design Challenge, a national engineering competition to develop concepts and prototype assistive technologies to support people with disabilities in their workplaces.

Three college and five high school teams have been selected to participate in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge signature event on April 7, a media release from SourceAmerica reports.

“SourceAmerica is committed to improving the employment opportunities, economic empowerment, and upward mobility of people with disabilities. The SourceAmerica Design Challenge gives high school and college students an opportunity to address the obstacles that people with disabilities encounter in the workplace and solve them with unique engineering solutions.”

— SourceAmerica Interim President and CEO Richard Belden

How it Works

Student teams chose from a list of pre-approved projects spanning several disciplines. The teams then designed technology to address the project’s requirements. Over the course of several months, the teams worked together virtually to fine-tune and document their project’s iterations until a final design was submitted.

The SourceAmerica 2021 Design Challenge Finals event will be held virtually in order to address the additional complexity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finalist teams will present their projects, receive rankings from the judges, and participate in an awards ceremony. The virtual Design Challenge Finals is open to the public, per the release.

Judges for the Design Challenge are comprised of SourceAmerica subject matter experts in workforce development and productivity engineering. Projects are evaluated based on their potential impact on the workplace.

Through innovation and imagination SourceAmerica is encouraging the next generation of engineers to discover solutions that improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities. This year’s teams have demonstrated a commitment to an inclusive workplace through the creation of assistive technology.

College Team Finalists

The three college team finalists for this year’s national competition include:

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  San Luis Obispo, California
Project: Just Kitting Workstation
The California Polytechnic State University senior project team created a kitting workstation designed to reduce errors and increase efficiency for employees experiencing dexterity issues.

California State University, Los Angeles
Project: Midas Touch
Team Midas Touch created a kitting and packing station utilizing pattern boards and a semi-automated heat sealer to increase accuracy and safety for employees with disabilities.

California State University, Los Angeles
Project: Zeno Effect
A second team from California State University, Los Angeles designed a web-based data tracking platform that increases efficiency in the assembly process for employees with disabilities and also assists managers to spot areas needing attention.

High School Team Finalists 

The five high school finalists for the 2021 SourceAmerica Design Challenge include:

Brentwood High School – Brentwood, New York
Project: The Quick Stamper
The Quick Stamper incorporates an easy-to-follow, four-step process that increases the accuracy of placing labels onto the center of boxes using a stamping method.

Catlin Gabel School – Portland, Oregon
Project: ZipBag
The ZipBag presents a safe and easy way for people with limb differences and lower dexterity to better handle the opening and closing of resealable bags.

Diamond Bar High School – Diamond Bar, California
Project: Time Clocking and Office Supply Jigs
The engineering team from Diamond Bar High School created a time clock and several jigs for an office space environment for labeling, opening bags and thread cutting, to minimize the need of manual dexterity in the workplace. 

Oswego East High School – Oswego, Illinois
Project: Robo-Sticker
The Robo-Sticker is made from Lego Technics and custom 3D printed parts and helps people place labels on a wide variety of box sizes.

Poolesville High School – Poolesville, Maryland
Project: Time Clock
The Time Clock focuses on design elements for people with disabilities, utilizing a linked barcode scanner to accommodate those who are unable to log in manually.

[Source(s): SourceAmerica, PR Newswire]