Engineering students showcase inventions to help people with disabilities

April 28, 2017 06:16 PM

ALBANY - Engineering students from Union College are improving both the professional and personal lives of New Yorkers with disabilities. Their inventions were on display at the state Capitol this past week.

Union College engineering students thought up and built a germination mat that allows users to monitor soil temperature through pictures, rather than words or numbers. Cheryl Martin, a Schenectady ARC client says it makes her greenhouse job at ARC significantly easier.

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"It makes the flowers grow, the seedlings. It gives us a start on them which is great," explained Martin.

Other inventions at the Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive Technology - or CREATE symposium include a smart cane that vibrates and talks to visually impaired users and a virtual reality system to better train workers with autism. The unemployment rate for New Yorkers with disabilities is more than 70-percent.

"I'm very, very, very grateful they are doing it," noted Martin.

However, New Yorkers like Martin aren't the only ones who benefit, so do the engineers-to-be.

"The technology helps people with disabilities achieve their potential, while the program actually helps students that are developing the technology reach their potential," pointed out Brian Bateman with NYS Industries for the Disabled.

Martin's hope now is a mat at home similar to the one she uses on the job.

"I love to do gardening work," she beamed.


WNYT Staff

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