Middle and High school students at NuVu Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts have designed and fabricated devices that are having direct effects on the lives of children with Cerebral Palsy. In June, students at NuVu, a full-time innovation school for middle and highschoolers in Cambridge, MA, got a chance to actualize the designs they made as part of a series of studios on Cerebral Palsy. During the design studios, students received feedback from doctors and physical therapists at Nuevo Amanacer (New Dawn), an organization in Monterrey, Mexico that provides services to low income families with Cerebral Palsy. The studio was such a success that NuVu decided to travel to Monterrey with eight students and four projects to work directly with the kids from Nuevo Amanacer. The studio and trip were jointly organized by NuVu Studio and Mas Libertad Menos Barreras (More Freedom Less Barriers), an organization providing design services to families assisted by Nuevo Amanacer. The industrial design school at Monterrey Tec served as our host, providing NuVu with interns and the use of their fabrication labs to push the projects further. The most notable instance of success was when a child lacking the ability to grip a pencil was able to draw a house and his name using one of the projects, aptly named Arte Para Todos--Art for All.
Sample Project Descriptions, link to studio
Arte Para Todos, designed and fabricated by Seth Isaacson, Alea Laidlaw and Oliver Geller, is a drawing aid for children with compromised fine motor skills or with difficulties with grip. Through the movement associated with drawing, the extension and retraction of the arm, it turns the act of drawing into a physical therapy device.
The Skills Vest, designed and fabricated by Devin Lewtan and Noah Saldaña, is a tackboard like vest that has associated farm-themed toys that focus on the skills associated with zippering and buttoning. The Skills Vest allows a child with poor fine motor skills to practice what can be the difficult task of getting dressed.
The Fashionable Lift Vest, designed and fabricated by Sam Bortman, sought to create a fashionable alternative to current lift vests. The vest glorifies the straps that are usually associated with lift vests and uses them for the entire vest, weaving them together to form a contemporary top. This vest is fashionable, and functional, and can be used to do transfers for a teen with Cerebral Palsy.
Uplift, a customized wheelchair designed and fabricated by Amit Nir and Stefano Pagani, addressed issues associated with heavier children who require two caregivers in order to be moved. Unlike the other projects which organically emerged from NuVu’s process, this was a special request from Mas Libertad to address the scenario of a child with one primary caregiver who needs two caregivers for certain activities, such as being lifted onto the toilet. The Wheelchair raises and lowers with a crank to allow for easy transfers and to create a suitable height at the family dinner table. The Wheelchair can also go over a toilet and is sized to fit down narrow hallways.