The Massive Purple Adaptive Play and Design Initiative, a student-run assistive know-how group, goals to bridge the hole between Cornell college students and the Ithaca particular wants neighborhood by re-engineering toys, making gadgets extra accessible for all.
Based by Massive Purple APDI President Michael Dicpinigaitis ’24 in 2021, the group re-wires battery-operated toys and gadgets to make them extra accessible to people with bodily disabilities. These applied sciences are donated to organizations to produce the necessity for adaptive play and assistive know-how options.
“I initially got here up with the concept for this initiative after seeing a video of how a scholar with a bodily incapacity might play with a specifically wired battery-operated toy through the use of a extra accessible swap button to beat his incapacity,” Dicpinigaitis stated. “I discovered that these uniquely wired toys known as ‘switch-adapted toys’ have been commercially out there however that they have been tremendous costly to those that wanted them most.”
In keeping with Dicpinigaitis, most battery-operated toys and gadgets might be re-wired for these with particular wants. Massive Purple ADPI gathers these toys, examines their inside circuitry and reverse engineers them to make them switch-accessible.
“Primarily, we wish to join an exterior swap to the toy to make it simpler for kids with motor disabilities to work together with them,” stated Maya Yu ’24, vice chairman of Massive Purple APDI. “Such commercially out there toys are usually prohibitively costly — we wish to mitigate this situation by donating and lending these toys out to the neighborhood.”
The group receives funding from the Pupil Actions Funding Fee, the Neighborhood Partnership Funding Board, the Contribution Undertaking and the Robinson-Appel Humanitarian Award to buy many of the provides for the toys. The School of Human Ecology’s Digital Design and Fabrication Studio permits Massive Purple APDI to make use of their meeting studio as an occasion house, in addition to borrow supplies for his or her toys.
“I introduced this concept to Cornell after reaching out to among the very applications that we now work with in Ithaca, [and] we discovered that there was an enormous want for these adaptive play applied sciences,” Dicpinigaitis stated. “With this want being current, we have been in a position to create a scholar group uniquely devoted to fulfilling this want in Ithaca and plan to proceed to develop a lot farther past.”
The membership has grown to 100 members inside two years of its founding and actively recruits all year long. Massive Purple APDI hosts biweekly occasions that anybody can attend.
At every assembly, college students work in small teams to be taught soldering, wire modification, accessibility and design with no expertise required.
In keeping with Kelly Chan ’24, a member of the programming, outreach and occasion planning committee, the group additionally hosts toy-adapting periods past Cornell at Ithaca School, native organizations and elementary, center and excessive colleges in Ithaca.
“We even have plans to straight design assistive know-how options for folks with bodily disabilities with specific wants in the neighborhood,” Chan stated. “[This may] embrace 3D-printed key-guards designed for communication gadgets, 3D printed switches designed for activating toys [or] gadgets and sensory boards designed to enhance tactile consciousness.”
The membership has lended their adaptive toys, gadgets and different applied sciences to numerous native organizations together with the Ithaca Metropolis College District, Tompkins Seneca Tioga Bored of Cooperative Academic Companies, Finger Lakes Independence Heart, Ithaca Racker Heart, Unity Home of Cayuga County and The Nice Southern Tier BOCES. They’re additionally at the moment within the strategy of collaborating with Cornell Pupil Incapacity Companies and the Union for Incapacity Consciousness.
“All kids have the suitable to play,” Chan stated. “Our work permits kids within the native Ithaca neighborhood to have toys which are accessible to them. We work straight with speech therapists and occupational therapists to be taught extra concerning the position of assistive applied sciences as properly.”
Yu famous the group’s emphasis on inclusivity and public service.
“By means of working so intently with our neighborhood, we now have been in a position to straight impression the lives of scholars in want — offering them with extra independence of their [day-to-day] lives,” Yu stated. “It’s been so rewarding seeing how our membership’s efforts have impacted the lives of so many people in our neighborhood, and we’re so excited to see how the group grows sooner or later.”