Thanks to Christopher for sending in his awesome project! Brrrr! Check out more details on his blog here.
My good friend KC Roberts challenged me to participate in the Icebucket Challenge. I made a handsfree icebucket backpack. It’s a little impractical, but a lot awesome.
The success ALS charities are experiencing is surprisingly contentious. Many of the arguments I’ve read against support are trivial, with the exception of animal testing. Since I’m not aware of the nature of animal testing that ALS researchers perform, I have no idea if it’s something that could be avoided. As important as the issue is, I’ve consciously decided that it won’t deter me from offering my support.
I’ve chosen to support ALS Canada because I know that a portion of the money goes towards Augmentative/ Alternative Communication (AAC) device programs. I think the cost and ubiquity of Maker-friendly technology means that we can revolutionise much of the hardware that’s being used. Many neurodegenerative or similar degenerative disease (like MS, Parkinson’s, etc.) result in changes to a person’s abilities over time. I think it would be amazing to live in a world where a maker who has a neurodegenerative disease could fashion bespoke tools and devices to maintain a high level of interaction. I know where to start – with sites like thecontrollerproject.com but I need to work on the rest of the path.
I’ve long been interested in the technology used by persons with ALS. AAC devices are amazing pieces of technology that help people communicate or interact using touch/ motion switches, pupil tracking, headmouse devices, blowtubes, etc. Amazingly, speech-generating devices have been around since the mid-70s!
Knowing how simple many of these devices are, I’m interested to see how the maker community responds to the Icebucket Challenge. An Arduino and a blowtube could be a fairly enabling combination – you can even make the Arduino behave as a replacement mouse, so the difficult part in making these solutions comes from the usability side, not the hardware/ fabrication side.
For the tech, I’m using:
- 6v Lantern Battery
- 9v Battery
- Arduino Uno
- Adafruit MPL115A2
- Keyes Relay Shield (any relay will do)
- Scrap motor from Active Surplus
Featured Adafruit Product!
MPL115A2 – I2C Barometric Pressure/Temperature Sensor: This pressure sensor from Freescale is a great low-cost sensing solution for measuring barometric pressure. At 1.5 hPa resolution, it’s not as precise as our favorite pressure sensor, the BMP085, which has up to 0.03 hPa resolution so we don’t suggest it as a precision altimeter. However, it’s great for basic barometric pressure sensing. The sensor is soldered onto a PCB with 10K pull-up resistors on the I2C pins. Read more.
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