ACCESSIBLE PAINTING STATION
University of Toronto
PRAXIS II 2016 FINAL SHOWCASE
DIGITAL WHITEBOARD AND WAND THAT STUDENTS USED TO INTERACT WITH IT
For this project, I worked in a team with 3 other engineering students. In order to find a community to work with for this project, we reached out to organizations that faced challenges that could be tackled through engineering design. One of the organizations that we reached out to was a school for children with disabilities, who eventually became our final stakeholders for the project.
Through contextual inquiry, we were able to learn about different challenges that the children faced in the classroom, and what tools were currently used in attempt to overcome those challenges. Students of the school had a wide range of disabilities that limited their capacity to learn and complete school-related tasks.
The design opportunity that we decided to focus on was the need for a good way to allow children with mobility impairments at the school to make art. Due to their limited motor skills, these children had difficulty using normal paint stations, and attempts to do so often resulted in spilt paint. They also required constant supervision and hand-holding from a caretaker. The solution that the school had implemented was a wall-mounted digital whiteboard interface with a large wand that the students used to interact with it. For the younger students, this proved to be especially difficult due their limited reach compared to the height of the board, and maintaining a firm grip on the wand.
READ THE WHOLE
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
FOR THIS PROJECT HERE:
SOME DESIGN REFERENCES AND PROTOTYPE ITERATIONS
During our design process, we focused on giving the students artistic independence that did not differentiate them from able-bodied classmates, providing an opportunity for them to express themselves without being restricted by their disabilities.
We started by analyzing weaknesses in designs that were currently on the market, and used this analysis to establish the objectives, criteria, metrics, and constraints of our project. Using functional decomposition and other divergence tools, we produced many ideas that were then evaluated based on the requirements of the project.
We experimented with many different prototypes, including many accessibility technologies and alternative methods of input. Some of these included iPad painting, a pressure-sensitive floor, and motion-tracking cameras. Children at the school were allowed to use the designs and encouraged to provide feedback, which aided us in producing better iterations.
READ ABOUT THE
DETAILED DESIGN PROCESS
FOR THIS PROJECT HERE:
Gradually, we scoped our possibilities down to a floor projected motion-tracking system, and an automatic paintbrush cleaning system.
Some of the feedback we received was that the children did not want to have a custom device that would make the way they creatively express themselves different from how their classmates did it. To accommodate for the children’s desire to be included in a classroom, we realized that we needed a design that incorporated the concept of universal design. The solution needed to be a product that could be used by children with and without disabilities alike.
Our final design was an improvement on the automatic paintbrush cleaning system. The cleaning system was included along with paint containers, brush drying stations, and a paper holder in a portable, all-inclusive art station. The station used limitations in paint dispensing to provide an independent painting experience to the children and caretakers that limited the mess that could be created, while using ergonomic angles interlocking geometry to make it easier to use for children with mobility limitations.
This design was presented at the 2016 Praxis II Course Final Showcase at the University of Toronto.