Tetra Ryerson

Engineering that breaks down barriers

Tetra Ryerson is a student run group that works with the North American Society of Tetra. Together we create assistive devices for individuals with disabilities

Multilingual AAC Device

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a term that comprises of various communication methods that allow for individuals with speech and writing impairments to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas effectively. Users of AAC can include individuals with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Parkinson's Disease. Dr. Nolan's lab has been working on an AAC device for the past 8 years in conjunction with researchers in Bolivia. After years of field study, their device's current iteration consists of capacitive touch, switches, and near-field communication modules so a non-verbal individual with low-mobility can communicate using just 4 head movements. The device outputs text using the Huffman code algorithm and has text converted into speech in English or Spanish.

 

Bathing Chair for Disabled Individuals

Bathing chairs are an integral part of the lives of disabled individuals who cannot stand or walk. Existing models however, contain flaws in design and are not cost-effective. Dr. Nolan's design consists of an easily reconstructable chair made of PVC tubing.

 

Wheelchair Footrest Jig

Wheelchairs are expensive equipments that usually consists of many complex sensitive parts. Thus, they are easily susceptible to damage and involve a great deal of difficulty during repairs. In particular, the foot rests tend to receive the most damage due to their position within the wheelchair. They get easily bent and are often made of materials that are hard to work with. Rebar is a common material in much of the 'majority world' and in Bolivia many children (teens) are taught to shape rebar into useable products as well as weld them with arc welders. A jig, fashioned out of aluminum that could act to bold rebar attachments to wheel chairs would extend their life and usefulness as well as allow for greater customization.

Dr. Nolan has a basic drawn explanation of functionality but requires a team to develop a 3D model and then fabricate working physical models. Members will be taught the basics of taps and threading to begin and will be provided a wheelchair for testing.

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