The SourceAmerica Design Challenge is a competition in which high school and college teams from across the United States compete to create assistive technologies to aid the workplace success and employment options for people with disabilities.

The winner in the high school category, from students at Concord High School in Wilmington, Del, is an interactive device called the Weigh Master. Described in a media release from SourceAmerica, it is a computerized scale that provided visual and color-coded cues to help employees with disabilities weigh dog treats with greater ease and efficiency in their roles at Waggies by Maggie and Friends in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Lean Master, from college winners California State University Los Angeles, reformatted the fabrication process of a two-hole puncher for FVO Solutions, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency in Pasadena, Calif. Using LEAN engineering techniques, production cycle time was reduced by 50% and physical discomfort for employees was eliminated.

During the 6-month competition, all the teams worked with people with disabilities in their communities to understand the challenges they face and design technologies to help them greater succeed in the workplace.

Five high school and three college teams then traveled to Washington, DC, for the Design Challenge championship on April 7, where they demonstrated their technologies and the winners were announced, the release adds.

The SourceAmerica 2017 Design Challenge winners also included:

High School Division:

2nd Place: Copley High School – Team #1617 (Copley, Ohio)
Organization served: Weaver Industries ProPak, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency (Akron, Ohio)
Project: The Delta Snap broadened the number of employees with disabilities that could assemble grinder caps from 25% to 100%.

3rd Place: Copley High School – Team #1616 (Copley, Ohio)
Organization served: Weaver SecurShred, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency (Akron, Ohio)
Project: The TRIPS device increased the efficiency and production of employees with disabilities who completed paper shredding. Shredding time for one roll of paper decreased from 5 minutes to 12 seconds, and total production increased by 750%.

4th Place: Olathe East High School (Olathe, Kansas)
Organization served: Shawnee Mission Northwest High School (Shawnee, Kansas)
Project: The B.O.S. (Best Overall Solution) is a portable wheelchair desk and cart designed for a high school teacher with multiple sclerosis. The cart’s capabilities enable the teacher to now travel independently, without help, while storing heavy books and materials.

5th Place: Wethersfield High School (Wethersfield, Connecticut)
Organization served: CW Resources, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency (New Britain, Connecticut)
Project: Flag 2.0 is a motorized device that helped an employee with disabilities properly label envelopes. A laser light built into the device determines label positioning, and a user-controlled button advances the roll to the next label when pressed.

College Division:

2nd Place: Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)
Organization served: SW Resources, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency (Parkersburg, West Virginia)
Project: Say Yes to the Press is a simple, user-friendly hand press that expanded the number of employees who could complete the task.

3rd Place: Lawrence Technological University (Southfield, Michigan)
Organization served: Services to Enhance Potential, a SourceAmerica network member nonprofit agency (Livonia, Michigan)
Project: The Spray Bottle Assembly Device features a hand press that reduced physical discomfort of employees with disabilities assembling spray bottles. For employees with dexterity issues, the new device enabled them to complete the process with a single hand.

“Our hope at SourceAmerica is that through the Design Challenge, employers will see how impactful assistive technology can be for their employees with disabilities and businesses,” says SourceAmerica Design Challenge Program Manager Charissa Garcia, in the release. “We also hope that as students grow in their careers and they encounter a person with a disability, they’ll be more open to giving them an opportunity.”

[Source(s): SourceAmerica, PRWeb]