New Smartphone Aims To Improve Lives Of Amputees | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

New Smartphone Aims To Improve Lives Of Amputees

Play associated audio

Cell phones seem to be everywhere, but they're not always easy for everyone to use. An industrial design class at Virginia Tech invented a very smart, smartphone designed for people missing a limb... and everyone else.

The design solution the students came up with is for the following scenario: a woman returning from war with her dominant arm amputated. The idea was to design a phone she could use by clenching different muscles in her jaw.

"The phone would send a signal to my earpiece, which would give me a beep, that there's an incoming call, and I have a choice -- whether to do the two second clench, that activates that yes, pick up the phone, and without even touching the phone I can start talking," explains Akshay Sharma, an associate professor of Architecture and Design at Virginia Tech.

Sharma led a team of students working with Industrial Design colleague Mitsy Vernon, collaborating with an Atlanta group working to provide wireless access for people with disabilities.

Tech's winning student team took a silver medal in the UX contest — UX standing for user experience. Sharma says that means the focus is not so much on designing a new cell phone, but on how it will enrich the lives of people using it.

"The largest demographic in our country in the next few years is going to be people above 65," says Sharma. She says issues such as vision deterioration and flexibility problems are matters that innovative designs need to address.

The International UX Awards is not a student competition. The Virginia Tech students competed with the likes of Google, Nike, and Bloomberg to earn a silver medal.

NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.
NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.
WAMU 88.5

With Protest Against Congressman, Activists Take A Stand For D.C. Home Rule

This protest was presumably about marijuana decriminalization, but home rule seemed to be the overarching theme.
NPR

The Weird, Underappreciated World Of Plastic Packaging

So much of the food we eat these days is encased in plastic. And behind it is a whole lot of research and innovation. We dive into some of the materials that keep food fresh and portable.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.