Central Dauphin 5th grade students design a 3D printed device to help their classmates communicate


In March, five gifted students from Linglestown Elementary’s program received a special assignment. Their classmate, Sophia, is non-verbal and uses a loudspeaker to communicate basic words.

But it was hard for Sophia to know which button she was actually pressing.

“Our goal was to get Sophia to be able to tell where the button is, so she doesn’t just put her hand out and not know where the button is,” said Sam Laeder, a fifth grader.

The group came up with four prototypes for Sophia to test, using the school’s new 3D printer. The fourth time was the charm, as they developed a successful addition to his device.

“I felt like we had accomplished something great and it was really good to help Sophia with her device,” said Grade 5 student Andrew Gergal.

Sophia’s teacher Jessica Muchoney says the design helps her navigate the device. It is also unlike anything available on the market.

“It was the most heartwarming experience I think I have had so far in my career,” said Muchoney. “It just helps him feel a little more of the difference around the knobs and the original plastic grille that was around the device, and it helps him raise his hand a bit so that it is resting. not lying flat on the device and activates the buttons that it does not have ‘I do not intend to.

The project was led by talented support teacher Adrienne Burns.

“I knew they were up to the challenge of real-world problem solving,” she said. “And to know that we were able to use technology and that 10 and 11 year olds understand that and really create something that will make a positive difference in someone’s life is a teacher’s dream. “

“The feeling of accomplishment was a great feeling because we know we have changed someone’s life and it will help them,” Laeder said.

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