Adaptive Mechatronics

Assistive Sculler

Andrew Todd Marcus


James Brink

The Brief Part 2 - Full Brief

Andrew Todd Marcus

The Brief is due Thursday Morning by 9:00AM.

Now that you have created an document that outlines all of the information you want to relate in the Brief, it is time to weave that information together into a strong narrative that ties together the Why, How and What and Who of your project through clear, cogent writing. Tell the story of how your idea was born, developed, and manifested.

Create 1 post titled “The Brief” in the Writing tab with text that includes the following 2 items, numbered:

  1. A 1-2 sentence project description for your transcript. This will serve as the basis of the Project Description that appears in your transcript. This description should not include the name of the project and should be written in the third person. This was Question 1 in your Outline.
    Night Light Blankie: A child's sensory blanket that provides comfort and privacy in the high stress environment of the hospital using weight, textures, and light. The blanket transforms into a mini light up fort over a child’s head.
    Cocoon: a shroud that explores human spirituality and the concept of life after death through the use of repetitive religious iconography. Composed of over 300 pieces of laser cut balsa wood lined with space tape, the icons are arranged using a mathematical strange attractor.
  1. A 1-2 paragraph brief for your project based on the description below. This will be based off the information you put together in your Outline and should focus on style. The NuVu writing coach will give you feedback and you will have the opportunity to revise this text before the final presentation. The primary purpose of The Brief is to explain, entice, and convince the reader that your project is amazing and important. Imagine your project on display in the Museum of Modern Art. The Brief is hanging on the wall next to your work. In 1-2 paragraphs, a viewer should understand what your project is, why it exists, and how you made it, and who it is for. More importantly, the viewer should be interested and care. You will draw them into your project through a compelling narrative.

    Things to think about:
    • Use the information in your Outline. Do not simply put all of the answers together -- you must weave it together into a clear story.
    • The what is a clear statement of the thesis or problem+solution. Your project description for your transcript (#1 above) can be adapted for this purpose.
    • The why explains how your project changes the world. It is the reason your project exists – what social issue is it engaging, who is your project helping, how does the project change the world, and what important social, intellectual, or technical questions does it raise? The scope of the why can vary widely.
    • The how briefly explains what technical prowess, innovative methods, or cool materials you used in your solution.
    • The who explains who will use your design, why they will use it, and in what context.
    • Think of the reader - it is good to imagine that a college admissions officer AND a potential employer in the field of your design should both be able to understand and be excited by the project based on your writing.

Write in the Third person in an explanatory fashion. Resist using I, WE, OUR, or YOU and focus on describing the work.

Here is an example from Penelope the Pain-O-Monster:

Pediatricians and other doctors find it challenging to collect accurate self reported information from children about their level of pain due to lack of communication skills, fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Traditional 1-10 pain scales do not fully address these issues, often leading to uncomfortable children and inaccurate symptom information. Penelope the Pain-O-Monster is a cute plush toy that uses integrated pressure sensors to allow children to express their source and level of pain through play.

A previous project, The EmoOwl, helped children with autism to express themselves by translating motion into color. Penelope the Pain-O-Monster grew out of the desire to expand children’s health menagerie with a different stuffed animal, one that makes the pain charts patients use to express their pain more interactive and easier for a child to use. Because research has shown that playing with stuffed animals can take children’s mind off pain, an additional “Fun” mode was added to distract from pain and anxiety. The handcrafted stuffed animal uses force sensors in different body parts that light up from blue to red depending on how hard they are pushed to show the child’s pain level. The hope is that, as one of many future healthcare friends, Penelope can help sick children feel safer while providing more useful information to care providers.

Assistive Sculler

Logan Rinaldi and Logan McClennen

The Assistive Sculler is a mechanical device designed to help Dick, a rower who suffered a stroke, get back on the water by using bar linkages to translate the limited movement of one of his arms into the more complex elliptical motion needed to control the oar. Before suffering the stroke, Dick was an avid rower and sailor. Since the stroke, the only way he can get back out on the water to row is by relying on another person to help him steer and to guide him. He also has to rely on a mechanism that attaches him to the boat. He has struggled with getting his right arm to extend all the way and to produce strong strokes. What he misses most is the ability to row by himself. The Assistive Sculler has a handle on one side that Dick can pump lever back and forth in a straightforward linear motion, using his right arm. This allows for Dick to focus more on the power of his right arm, making it easier to row. Most importantly, once brought to full scale, this device would attach to one side of a single rowing shell and enable Dick to get back on the water by himself.


Alannah Argyle and Teresa Lourie
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James Brink
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Brian is paralyzed in one arm and has to wear a sling to keep his arm steady and safe; on top of facing many extra challenges in navigating daily life, he finds wearing a sling burdensome and uncomfortable and has often wished he could adjust his arm’s position to enable him to perform certain tasks. He has many gripes with it, mainly the burden of the constant stress on his shoulder. The Exoarm was originally conceived of as a way for people with paralysis in an arm to lift things up with an arm exoskeleton. Attaching several pulleys to the upper part of the bicep proved to be both challenging and ineffective; the force required to lift the arm was mechanically improbable with that particular set-up. Attaching the pulley to the shoulder instead was possibly the most feasible alternative, but it did not meet solve Brian’s main problem with his current sling, namely the stress it puts on his shoulder. A mechanical adjusting system was settled on as more feasible and responsive to Brian's needs.

The Exoarm's locking mechanism is a carefully engineered uncluttered approach. It has four parts, all designed with fluid mobility in mind: a gear, a toothbrush, a holder, and a clothespin spring. The gear's teeth are longer and thinner, allowing the teeth to hold better; it is fixed to the upper part of the Exoarm, allowing it to follow the proper motion of an arm. The toothbrush is a rod that rotates to bite down and lock onto to the gear. Its teeth are the same size as the gear to allow fluid attachment. The holder also rotates and is angled in such a way, that it is easy to adjust. At the end, there is a rod that is press-fitted into a bearing inside of the gear; this allows for the two gear-infused holders to be attached the fore-arm brace to move and hold the arm. Finally, there is a clothespin. A simple spring that is put in the middle of the toothbrush, it allows someone to adjust their arm in many positions.

flowers to you

Natalie Ferry and Aveen Nagpal


Grant Kibel and 2 OthersAbigail Spencer
Tony Whelan

Video of Marina Skating

Abigail Spencer


Ruby Miller and Richard Lourie