Engineering students from Penn State University – USA (Madelyn Cook, Leonor Hellmund, Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, Matthew Vincent, Youcheng Song) and the Belgium Campus – South Africa (Kristel Hartman, Louis Marx, Gosiame Monare), are the winning team in the 2016 Student Research and Design Competition, sponsored by the RERC on AAC.
Student teams addressed the challenge of incorporating tone of voice into AAC systems. The combination of students from two continents was facilitated by Andrew “Mike” Erdman, Walter L. Robb Director of Engineering Leadership Development and instructor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State University. More information on this innovative Learning Factory collaboration is available here.
The students on Team Hope devices created a multi-component system to support the integration of emotion into AAC devices, using a variety of sensors and open-source software. The final report for the Hope Devices team is available here. They also produced a YouTube video demonstrating the use of devices, which won an award at the Penn State Learning Factory Spring Exhibition.
The Team Hope students voted to use all of the prize funds to support three Belgium Campus and one Penn State student attending the 2016 Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) conference in Washington, DC. The four students attended a variety of sessions on rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology, and interacted with RERC on AAC partners.
The 2017 RERC on AAC Student Research and Design Competition will encourage students to meet the engineering challenge of developing AAC systems to support communication in hospital settings. Please contact David McNaughton at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.