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Problem Solving Must-Reads: A Robotic Glove for the Disabled

Plus: An art project to unite a gentrifying community, and feeding thousands through extreme couponing

Problem Solving Must-Reads: A Robotic Glove for the Disabled

Plus: An art project to unite a gentrifying community, and feeding thousands through extreme couponing

Many people who have suffered spinal cord injuries, strokes, or have other neural ailments have limited control over their extremities. This lack of control can make simple tasks like picking up a jar or turning a door knob exceedingly difficult. This inability to perform basic tasks can seriously limit their independence. Although this is a very common problem, it’s not the type of thing that gets much attention from major health technology corporations. Those corporations tend to focus on solving large, far-reaching problems for those in need.  While that imperative mission helps generate progress in this area of science, simple yet vital initiatives often get left behind.

The Seoul National University’s Department of Robotics, on the other hand, focuses its energy on solving day-to-day problems for people who are unable to move or control their hands.  The department wanted to make these people’s everyday routines easier, as well as increase the level of independence of those afflicted by these disabilities.  Their latest breakthrough is the form fitting Exo-Glove Poly.

The glove, inconspicuous from afar because of its simple design and tight fit, wraps around the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, with covered wires extending out from those sections to a motor.  A button controlled by the non-glove hand tells the glove when to make the various fingers tense up, thus allowing the user to grip objects like door handles or utensils.  The entire glove is made of silicone, and because the motor is not located near the hand, the glove is waterproof, an essential feature that allows the users to perform tasks near water, like brushing their teeth.  Today, the department is working on creating the most efficient and effective way to allow both hands to wear the gloves simultaneously.  In the meantime, the minimalistic and modest device could provide many disabled people with renewed independence.

Read the full story here (via GOOD)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

The D.C. Project that Aims to Unite a Gentrifying Community

The SEE/CHANGE Project, created by the DC office of planning and the Kresge Foundation, hopes to foster an environment built upon the foundation of empathy in some of the areas of DC that are affected by gentrification.  The Project consists of using vacant space to project images of members of these communities. The mission is not to ignite an argument against the kind of urban development that drastically alters communities, but rather to manifest a dialogue for citizens to speak openly in order to add a sense of human weight behind the decisions that shape evolving communities. (via City Lab)

One Woman is Feeding Thousands through Extreme Couponing

To combat hunger, Lauren Puryear, a 29-year-old mental health clinician from Woodbridge, Virginia, uses couponing to feed those in need. With her extreme couponing, Puryear purchases meals and nonperishables for dozens of people in need for only a few dollars. Since she has started couponing, Puryear has provided meals to 5,572 people and has founded her own charity, For the Love of Others. Puryear plans on continuing extreme couponing to deliver 30,000 meals to those in need before she turns 30. (via NJ.com)

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