Our project assignment is to design an interactive toy/object sorter to help a young boy with ASD and CP develop his fine motor skills
Our client has a need for this project because it helps children develop their fine motor skills. Developing these skills is important because they in turn improve hand-eye coordination, physical awareness, and even communication skills. The audio and visual components that we are adding help with stimulation and improving sensory awareness. Our apparatus is configured to accommodate the user’s lack of mobility and encourage them to interact with it.
The design that we are going with is based off of an original toy that the therapist had in her office before this project began. There is a picture of this toy in the background research. The therapist is wanting this toy to not only help the child be able to separate different shapes in to different shaped holes. When the child is successful the lights on the toy will flash in the pattern of a circle and play the music of Saints Go Marching In and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
As part of our background research, we visited our client’s physical therapy office. There, we were shown an example product of what the client wanted, and we discussed how we could improve upon the design.
After our visit, we began researching different toys specially designed for kids with Autism and Cerebral Palsy. From our research, we discovered that many children with these disabilities respond best to colorful light-up toys that are modular and comfortable to hold.
We then began to research the electronics that would go into our product. Our first idea was to install an ultrasonic or touch sensor that would signify the circuit to play music and turn on the lights when an object was inserted.
Concept design number 1 is now the head of a robot with blinking and interchangeable shape lids. These shape lids will be a circle with a shape cut out in the middle of them. On these lids there will be a negative and positive terminal that will activate the electronics inside the head and start the blinking lights around the shape. To get the shape to blink we are going to have holes all the way around the shapes with flushed individual bulbs that will be programed to flash and go in a pattern to keep the child’s attention. When the child successfully drops in the correct shape, the shape will hit a force gauge and activate a celebration sequence that will play music and cause flashing lights to go off on different places of the robot.
Our second concept was one of a “honeypot” it represents the shape and design of the original toy that the therapist had. This concept has the advantages as being similar to the original toy which the child already enjoys and would not be much of a change. This design has interchangeable tops for different shapes and sizes. This design was also thought to use a ultrasonic sensor instead of a force sensor to determine when something was dropped in.
The final concept is that of a cylinder. This design also is made with handles so that the child can have proper control over the toy, however, his main focus would be on the top that not only is lit up, but also has multiple shapes in the top for objects to be dropped into. In this design there is a force sensor that is activating the light patter sequence and the music. The advantage of this is that noise cannot cannot interfere with this sensor unlike the ultrasonic.
Robot Head (Concept Design #1)
The selected design is a robot head that will light up and have interchangeable lids that have different shapes for the children to be able to recognize different patterns. This file is currently not on the webpage, because we were just able to meet with the therapist earlier this week to get some more feedback on our design for it. However, this CAD file should be uploaded shortly and also discussed briefly.
This analysis is going to be done in Solidworks. The only analysis as of right now will be a force analysis to make sure it does not break if thrown or dropped.