Friday, January 06, 2017

Motion Training for Special Kids

Some of my readers have gotten the impression that our students serve only overseas in countries such as Cambodia, Rwanda, …  In fact, ~3,000 of our students (~75% of the total), serve in Hong Kong in 2015-16.  

One of the teams developed a number of systems for a special school in Tseung Kwan O (將軍澳).  Most of the kids in the school are severely handicapped, both physically and mentally. One of the systems is designed to provide motion training by encouraging the kids to move along a row of cushions, with row of LED lights on either side of the row of cushions.  

A Kinect motion seeing device, essentially a special camera which can sense distance, is used to detect the distance moved and then the LEDs will change colour.  Technologically, it is not very difficult to design and implement.  But it seems to give the kids a lot of fun, and at the same time, encourage them to move better.  

Our students visited the school to understand the needs of kids, discussed with the staff there and their teachers (me and my colleagues at the university) possible solutions, designed and tested the solutions, and then trained the kids to use them.  Many iterations were required before something usable can be developed.  

In the process, our students learn to appreciate the difficulties faced by some of the kids with special needs, how technology can be used to improve the lives of the under-privileged, how to communicate with these kids who may be very different from us, how to work in a team, and ultimately, how to be a responsible citizen.   It is a hugely rewarding experience for all of us.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done, thanks for sharing. It is so heartening to see students serving locally. It has become very trendy to serve abroad when there are many needy people around us.
Using technology to serve the underprivileged is far more impactful than another app on the iphone. Bravo!