Padua students go Full Steam Ahead

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24 October 2017Image 1 - Tara, Aliese, Grace and Tiffany from Padua College with their project from FULL STEam AHEAD. Image 2 - Tiffany with one of the 3D printers at FULL STeAM AHEAD.

Last week, Aliese, Tara, Grace and Tiffany from Padua College, Mornington, were among 40 Year 10 students from across Victoria to participate in the five-day 2017 FULL STEaM AHEAD – Girls Designing for an Inclusive Society program at the office of Engineers Australia.

The participants in FULL STEaM AHEAD were given the task of designing solutions to the barriers that disabled people face within our community by collaborating to generate ideas and develop assistive/enabling technologies to overcome these barriers.

Aliese and Tara said, 'Over the week we learnt about people with disabilities and their everyday struggles in life. We then worked in groups to design an assistive device that could help people with disabilities in at least one aspect of their lives. Our group designed a playground that was one hundred percent accessible for people in wheelchairs. We used 3D printers as well as some other materials to construct a scale model of what our playground would look like in real life.

Grace said, ‘Our group decided to make a mechanical arm which would allow someone who was either an amputee, or born with missing limbs or perhaps didn’t have much dexterity or with limited muscle movement, to hold a pen and write with it. After further consideration, we found decided it must be adjustable as not everyone has the same needs and this would make the device much more versatile. We designed all the components for our device on a 3D printing software and we presented our working prototype to an audience made up of parents, teachers, engineers and others with disabilities’.

In a recent World Report on Disability, it is estimated that 1 in 5 people globally has a disability, which in Australia is calculated to be 4.27 million people. The majority of these people experience social exclusion, discrimination and lack of access to fully participate in society due to the barriers such as built environment and negative attitudes.