Taught by Dr. Crowthers

STEM II is a second semester project that start after February Fair. This project is called the Assistive Technologies (AT) project because the goal is to complete an assistive device for a community that has a certain disability. We also choose groups of 3-4 and decide among ourselves what role best fit our skill set. I was assigned to be the Chief Manufacture Officer (CMO)in charge of coming up with designs, constructing prototypes, and experiment tests. I work alongside with the CEO, CTO, and the CIO.

Home Alert!

A Button-to-Alarm System for Visually Impaired Patients (VIPs)

For many visually impaired persons (VIPs), a caretaker is needed to help them perform simple daily tasks, such as pouring water into a cup. However, the caretaker will not always be beside the VIP. In order to solve this problem, an assistive button-to-alarm system will be constructed to help alert the caretaker that the patient needs assistance. When VIPs are learning to integrate their disability into their normal life, a caretaker is required to complete their VIPs' simple daily tasks and slowly teach them how to perform these tasks without assistance. A caretaker may need to tend to the needs of multiple patients, so a patient may not always stay in contact with their caretaker. Therefore, when patients need assistance, they have no method of contacting their caretakers. Additionally, this creates the risk that the caretaker may not be aware when a patient is in need of emergency assistance, so a solution is needed.

Problem Statement

Project Goal

In care homes, visually impaired people (VIPs) need assistance performing daily tasks, but caretakers may not be available to aid them all the time.

Build a system that allows for communication between a VIP patient and caretaker via button and speaker devices.

Design Concepts

Design #3

Caretaker Walkie-Talkie Alarm Device

A smaller and portable device that acts as a walkie-talkie. A speaker can be installed to produce an alarm, and a microphone can provide direct communication with the patient.

Caretaker Number Pad Alarm Device

A smaller and stationary device that can notify the patient if it has received an alert signal. The caretaker can press any number of the number pad to tell the patient roughly the number of minutes they need to wait before the caretaker can tend to them.

Design #4

Design #5

Patient Double Button Device

Two buttons that can be used to alert the caretaker the intensity of assistance the patient requires. Different surface textures can be made on the buttons in order for the VIP to tell the difference between the two buttons.

Patient Single Button Device

A singular button that can serve multiple functions. A short press can signal a non-emergency situation while a press and hold can signal an emergency situation. A singular button is more simple than double buttons, but a press and hold might not be effective when the patient is in an emergency situation.

Design #6

Design Concepts

Caretaker Alarm Device

Caretaker Device Prototype #1

Prototype #1

This prototype of the caretaker device was hard-wired to the patient device because we did not have our transceivers yet. Additionally, there are too many wires, so the space inside the device filled up quickly. Even squeezing the speaker inside the device was a challenge. Therefore, we corrected these flaws and created a second prototype.

Caretaker Device Prototype #2

Prototype #2 (Final)

After implementing the transceiver to the device, there were less wires involved, so we had room to add a speaker amplifier to increase the sound of the alarm. Once I organized the components of the alarm system inside the caretaker device, I hot glue them to make sure that stayed in a fixed position. This made the device more durable and organized.

Patient Button Device

Patient Device Prototype #1

Prototype #1

This prototype of the patient device was hard-wired to the caretaker device because we did not have transceivers yet. On this prototype, there were two buttons: one was an alert button and the other was a cancel button. The alert button signals the caretaker device to play an alarm sound. The cancel button stops the alarm sound


Patient Device Prototype #2

Prototype #2

In the second prototype of the patient button device, transceivers were implemented, which made the button-alarm system wireless. Additionally, a 3D button cap was installed to increase the surface area of pressing. We decided to remove the cancel button since it was not a function that we wanted to focus on. Instead, our clients wanted a device to play different sounds to differentiate emergency and non-emergency situations as well as distinguish which patient signaled for assistance.

Patient Device Prototype #3

Prototype #3 (Final)

In our final prototype, a second button was successfully implemented into the button-alarm system. Now, a button can play a sound that signals for an emergency assistance, and the other button can play different sound that signals for a non-emergency assistance. Additionally, another 3D button cap was installed. Each button cap has a unique surface shape: one button cap is round while the other has a triangle extruding out of the top. This help patients differentiate which button is which through their sense of touch.

System Picture


Alert System Pic

Design Study