Umbrella Monster

May 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm (Contemporary Art in the Public Realm)

We had our class performance debut this weekend as part of the CATDIG Festival – – held on Catherine St. in Limerick.

We had two fifteen minute street performances – One on Saturday at four and one today at two.

The main idea was to have little umbrella domes that would merge into one big umbrella monster split apart and then come together again. We added a Mexican umbrella wave and a moment where we were completely still to see the audiences reaction. The finale saw us running frantically together forming a giant dome roaring and shouting to a frantic and crazy beat from our drummers.

The Music Tech. Guys provided the beat using water bottles and drumsticks. Lette led the pack with her big conga drum or is it called a djembe…. not sure which one it is!?? The sound was fantastic even though we had to battle a band on Saturday that was playing down the road in Bourke’s pub.

We had been trying to choreograph our performance for the past few weeks but things only seemed to come together this week with everybody’s hard work and great ideas. We came up with the idea of the masks to add a dramatic effect to the piece.

Saturday saw lots of people on the street with a great buzz around the place. This really helped us with our performance and the energy we put into it. Of course the beautiful weather also helped to lift our spirits! We were very lucky. The umbrellas proved very ironic under the circumstances!
Today was quieter and had a more relaxed atmosphere. The timing was a lot better and I think we really perfected the performance. The spectators gave us a big round of applause even though they had some confused and puzzled expressions! A nearby dog particularly liked the drumming and barked along to the whole thing. It was quite funny!
I really enjoyed the two performances because they were something I had never done before. I am by no means a dancer or performer but I found myself getting into the showmanship of it and feeding off the kinetic energy that was built up.

Here are some individual poses from our ninjas!!

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Patient Feedback in Milford

May 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm (Thesis)

I will be working closely with Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy staff in Milford Care Centre along with the assistive technology department (See Assistive Devices Blog) at the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC).
The Central Remedial Clinic (CRC) specialise in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of children and adults with a wide range of physical conditions. The clinic also offers a range of training, development and day activity options to adults.

Following a meeting with one of the Physiotherapists from Milford, I gathered together some questions that the staff might ask the patients while on the MOTOmed bike in the form of an informal chat/discussion.
I really want to get a feel for what the patients like and don’t like. Maybe they have a favourite location they have been to and would like to revisit or they really want to go somewhere exotic or different.

After the staff members brief the patient on the project, they will then ask the following questions.

Here are few questions I put forward

· Do you have a favourite place in the world, if so where?
· Do have a favourite location in Ireland, if so, where?
· Do you any travel stories you would like to share?
· How do you feel about computers?
· What is your level of computing ability?
· Would you be open to trying new things with technology? If so what would be your conditions, e.g. make sure its simple and straightforward, interesting and
fun, information etc?
· Would you prefer a story being told with the video/images or would music be more enjoyable.

Obviously there are different levels of ability and cognition within the Milford Care Centre so some patients will be unable to participate. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from a broad range of patients to adequately meet their needs and wants.

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Alternative Haptic Devices for People with Disabilities – Assistive Technology

May 8, 2010 at 9:58 am (Thesis)

Assistive technology (AT) is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assistive_technology

Some of the assistive devices on the market at the moment are very impressive and are currently giving me inspiration for my own haptic devices that I will need for my project. There are broad range of devices for the elderly also available.

The devices I am looking at for my project will be a switch and a hand-held remote control.

The switch is activated when a patients applies pressure using whatever part of their body is strongest e.g. head, neck, elbow, knee etc.

The remote control for my project will have a stand, which can be placed anywhere the patient desires.

I will collaborate with the Central Remedial Clinic in Raheen in Limerick to assist me with the design of my device.

The following video illustrates how a simple switch can control a remote control and in turn control a dvd player. The choice of music is a bit strange but it is a good example of the power of a switch

Click here for a simple explanation of alternative devices and how they work with computers

This is an emotive and poignant video outlining how assistive and augmented devices can benefit people both young and old.

I love the way she talks about people and interaction, innovation and independence, which is something able-bodied people take for granted including myself!

The more I look into these devices and how they can have such a profound effect on people with disabilities the more I want to learn! Technological advancements in the past ten years alone have opened so many doors for people with disabilities that would have otherwise remain shut. It is such a privilege to be able to help people with their rehabilitation and just their general happiness! To have the power to create something that patients will benefit greatly from is extremely overwhelming and if I’m honest a bit scary!

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