Final Thoughts on an Amazing Experience!

This is our final post from our trip to India. Vanessa and Emily have been doing a fabulous job developing and posting on this blog for the last 17 days. It has truly been an honor traveling with both of them and watching their interactions with staff and students. They are both going to be amazing OTs. They spoke with confidence and passion as they discussed what occupational therapy is to so many people.

I must say that this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. I conducted a total of 12 hands-on assistive technology workshop days in 17 days to over 1000 students at three different colleges. This must be a world record of the most number of students fabricating assistive technology solutions in minutes. A total of 320 solutions were fabricated by students. Students worked in teams and often fabricated three or more solutions per team in addition to the items fabricated during the hands-on portion of the workshops. I must say- the students and staff were our professors in teaching us creative uses of materials that can be found in India.

We would like to thank the following individuals who worked so hard in coordinating these workshop: Padma, Guruswamy, Ravi, Sujana, and Chairman Vishnu and everyone one else affiliated with the Vishnu Educational Society and the Assistive Technology Labs. Also a special thanks to Alan Rux from UMASS Lowell for his guidance, inspiration, and encouragement.

Our hope is to produce a book of all the solutions that the students developed using materials found in India and that this event becomes an annual event to challenge students to think outside the box.

Project Expo and BVRIT Narsapur


Adapted spoon using industrial twist tie.


Canine walker using CPVC, canvas and four wheels.


A Rubik’s Cube using Braille to represent the colors.


Therese on stage presenting certificates to one of the top three groups of the expo.

Day 2 AT in Minutes Workshop at BVRIT Hyderabad- College of Engineering for Women

20131226_105224 20131226_105828The above students previously won an award for a research paper they wrote about Google Glass. This was the first time they had the opportunity to actually try it it out!  They participated in a discussion about the benefits of Google Glass for blind people and for those peoples whose disabilities prevent them from doing things such as leaving their home or participating in adventure activities! 

BVRIT students asking Emily and Vanessa about Assistive Technology programs in the US

BVRIT students asking Emily and Vanessa about Assistive Technology programs in the US

A group photo with Principal Dr. K.V.N. Sunitha and Associate professor Guruswamy Revena

A group photo with Principal Dr. K.V.N. Sunitha and Associate professor Guruswamy Revena



Visit to Dhama Innovations


We had a fantastic visit to Dhama Innovations, who develop temperaute-based wearable electronics. This is a new innovative product for cooling and heating within seconds. These products may be used for pain management after surgeries and treatment for people who experience carpal tunnel, tennis elbow (lateral epicondolytis), golfers elbow (medial epicondoytics), and texter’s thumb  (Dequervain’s tendonitis).

Dhama Innovations Website 

Brunch with Chairman and Vice Chairman


On Christmas Day, we met with the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Sri Vishnu Educational Society. We debriefed and discussed our vision of how hands-on fabrication of assistive technology can continue to be part of the Vishnu Educational programs. Suggestions included: availability of materials in India, distance learning opportunities, and incorporating hands-on learning in engineering classrooms. 




Visit to Sweekaar Rehabilitation Institute in Hydrabad

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Sweekaar Rehabilitation Institute For Handicapped offers outpatient therapy services in the areas of mental health, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy. They also offer special education and vocational training programs to children and young adults with disabilities.

examples orthotics, prosthetics and assistive technology available

examples orthotics, prosthetics and assistive technology available


An assortment of prosthetics and orthoticsThe city institute has a sensory playground where made use of the small outdoor space by adapting it The institute, located in Hydrabad, adapted their outdoor space to provide a sensory playground for children receiving services

Workshop Day at Narsapur


About 150 students gathered day two of the hands-on workshop. Today students made solutions using materials such as corrugated plastic, acrylic and various tapes. Students were also introduced to their group project, which will be displayed at the expo on Saturday.


Students were very excited to be able to try Google Glass for the first time.


Students and facility are working on the India-Norway solar project.



The AT lab on this campus was established in 2009. Students have the opportunity to do distance learning with the UMass Lowell engineering program. Here in this picture, we are able to see various AT projects are on display.


Amazing new uses for corrugated plastic using wires placed inside of the flutes to create a prototype hand prosthesis.