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ART TOOLS FOR CHILDREN WITH CP

AN OPEN-SOURCE FIXPERTS PROJECT

2016 | Co-designed with Eran Kurtztag and Sooraj Suresh

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How can we make communication for everyone? In autumn 2016, as we participated in the Fixperts initiation, we met Tehila, a 9-year-old little girl with Cerebral palsy. Due to her medical condition, Tehila could not speak. Instead, she wanted to express herself through her hands but struggled to hold and use conform tools. We soon began with our study and came up with various new ways in which one can express himself, even with a limited range of motion and stiff muscles. We chose the approach of inclusive design, and in our research emphasized human engineer, the use of tactile senses, and responsive interaction with materials and platforms.

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Design process models, exploring grip and material options

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Attempts to make the tool universal to all paint and drawing utensils 

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Children creations made with our tools

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We created for her a drawing tool, a painting tool, and an easel. The tools we designed do not involve fine motor skills as most art tools, thus are very comfortable and require a very short learning curve. The drawing tool allows her to insert any marker, pen, or paintbrush she wants and lets her use it with a straight wrist and a solid grip. The painting tool allows the use of the entire palm and the creation of large painted areas, which waste less of her energy. And the easel, which opens to a 45-degree angle and is coated with anti-slip material, enables her to draw without bending her neck, and while she is lying down.

 

In the spirit of Fixperts, our project is an open-source one and is made of simple and accessible materials so that anyone in the world who would like to design a set of tools of his own for a person in need will be able to.

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