Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cohesion and Cooperation

We presented to our classmates about our research for software and recording tools, as well as the information that we got from talking to a patient at a nursing home. We decided on two different microphones that we are going to use to record our tutorials, the CAD U37 and the Yeti. We also chose software for screen video recording and video editing. During the class we discussed different ways that we could stand out from our competing tutorial websites. The most common way for solving many problems is to Google the question and sift through the links on the first page and decide which may be the website or video that will help the most. Our website will provide a place where the users can ensure that they have reliable information as well as make sure that they can find the right video the first time that they search. We are trying to make a template that offers an easy to use interface as well as a powerful design so that people are able to access the video they are looking for as quickly as possible. For our current goals we are going to survey a larger age group of people for the problems that they are having with their computers, Internet, email, or smart phones. We are sampling a larger group because when we conducted a survey at a nursing home, not many of the residents used computers or smart phones. The information from a larger age group will help us decide topics for videos.

Exploring the Market

As a whole, our group has really gotten off on the right foot at the start of this year. Today in class we presented some of our findings as we continue to dive deeper into all of the research that we have to complete before we finalize any design plans. The first research topic was for competitive technologies that are on the market today. Using a catalog from AliMed for Rehabilitation/ Orthopedics/ Skilled Nursing, we ran through the positives and negatives of each product, and used that information to better our understanding of what we need to include in our design. We also did more research on the conditions that cause people to be confined to a wheelchair. From these we can figure out some design specifications based on any specific problems that people affected by these diseases may have with their wheelchairs. For the near future, we will continue, again, with more research, as well as continuing to stay organized and on top of all the tasks that we need to complete as a group. With the pace that we have set, hopefully we will be able to have our first final design idea solidified in the next couple of weeks.

Ski Pack on a Roll

Today our group made a presentation that we then presented to the class. The information that was given included our decision about what direction we should move forward with. First off was our choice for sewing machines. The research done by a group member was narrowed down to two companies in which we would buy our sewing machine from. These companies are Brothers or Juki. Our group seems to be leaning toward the Brothers sewing machine due to the amount of work that we need the machine to do. The fabric that we have chosen to go with is Cordura classic or duck fabric. This fabric has met the standards that we have set for our backpack design. The zipper selection of the backpack will be chosen by the YKK brand. These zippers are chosen by most companies due to their durability. Our group is also in the preparation mode for the upcoming roller ski race in Kingston on November 18th. There we will be fundraising and promoting our backpack to the roller ski competitors and fans of the sport.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day 2!

As group research becomes more in depth and detailed, we must keep everyone updated! All 3 groups are becoming more knowledgeable about the problem at hand and research is being generated quite quickly.  As public representative it is my job to keep the blog updated and informational.  But since I can't obtain the full details from every group, someone in each group must write a blog for the day and send it to me.  Once I have all the proposed blogs, it is my job to proofread and make adjustments. This is a great way for the groups to all communicate about what was accomplished for the day and helps me complete the task at hand.

The team designing the wheelchair worked on finding out what the actual patients want. We went over to Wesley Nursing Home and talked to physical therapists and patients to find out what they think we should incorporate into our design of the armrest. We found that most patients want something that can be moved to a more natural angle and keep their arms from falling off and getting hurt. The therapists thought a design that would elevate the hand to reduce swelling and keep the arm secure without strapping it down would be very useful. So in class today, we discussed what we learned and how we can incorporate this into our design. Then we broke off and a few guys went and started drawing up CAD drawings of the wheelchair and the armrest given to us by the nursing home. The rest of us went and researched what the patients have available to them and how much the different devices cost. We also looked up diseases that mainly restrict an arms range of motion. This helps us to see what kind of problems we should look into and who our armrest would affect the most. This coming week, I hope we can get a design drawn out and visit other health care centers in the area to get their feedback as well.

In Class on Tuesday we got together after our presentation and delegated tasks to each group member. These tasks included research about other tutorials out there, materials needed, and software/ programming that will be necessary. I also went to call Mary at the Saratoga Hospital Nursing home again to see if I could meet up with her. Today I went to see Mary at the hospital and I talked to a patient that needed help with her MacBook Pro. She and I talked for a while and I completed a survey for her. Then I helped Mary with her Mp3 issues as she requested. My other group members emailed me their progress so that as a group we can all communicate.Our Future plans are to continue writing the HTML programing for the website and convert it into the application using the Conduit Mobile software or the Apps Builder software. We plan to purchase one of the microphones we are looking at, maybe the CAD U37 USB Studio Microphone. We also plan to purchase the software necessary for recording the videos on our screen, maybe using Camtasia. We plan to survey more people on what they need, maybe to go to more nursing homes and find out what they need help with. 

Today in class, the team working on the rollerski backpack got off to a great start. Many designs were thrown around until they finally settled on a design that is functional and esthetically appealing. After the group split up to find what fabric, sewing machines and insulation (for the water bottle pocket) would work best for the job, Thomas MacDonald scored the group a great partner: the school home and careers teacher. Mrs. Battesh has volunteered to teach the group how to sew and gave her two cents on which sewing machines she thought would do the best job. In the next couple of days the group plans to drafting up some technical drawings of the bag, a little proto-typing and maybe start ordering machines and fabric.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today is the first day we really get to dig into EDD.  After much deliberating and voting, we have decided on the projects we will be working on this year.  There are 3 projects we have decided to pursue.  The first was designed by Brian Halligan.  He came up with the idea of a rollerski backpack.  The second project was created by Gabby O'Dell.  In this group, they hope to create a prototype of a wheelchair that is more suitable for patients with arm restriction.  And in the last group, Greg Talamo came up with an idea of creating a smartphone app that gave tutorials on how to do tasks on a computer.  The first steps to completing these projects is to do research and find some funding to better our club.  The class is divided up into these 3 groups and Olivia Poppel, our project manager, will be helping all around.  This is just the beginning and I hope to have a successful year!