The seniors’ year of our electronics and electrical engineering class was given a very unusual assignment at the start of the year. Come up with, plan and design and create a prototype of a communications device that can be easily understood and used by elderly people.
We thought this was a very wonderful idea as pretty much all technology advances make it into gadgets that are mainly for young people. Of course this is a difficult task as many elderly people do not like using modern technology because they do not understand or even need it.
But one of the teams in the senior year came up with a wonderful idea and a fully functioning prototype. What was it?
A cell phone based phone that looks and feels like a home with a hand set and large buttons and fast dial buttons. Why is this such a good idea? Because elderly people often spend longer periods of time on hospital beds where having a phone connection is expensive and often not with a suitable phone.
The team modelled their device on one of the most popular landline phones for seniors, which is a best seller on many ecommerce stores. It features large numeric buttons that can be easily seen by people with partial blindness, but also are easy to use with arthritis in their hands.
In addition it has quick dial buttons at the top which can have either names or images added, so that an elderly person can quickly and easily dial family and friends. While creating a phone like this is a great achievement, the students took it one step further.
Rather than needing to plug the phone into the phone network, users simply need to add a cell phone SIM card and it can be used like any cell phone from everywhere. Seniors can this way take the phone on vacations, visits to family and friends or inevitable trips to a hospital.
At any location they have a very familiar phone that does not require a phone line connection and works on just one phone account, which can even be prepaid.
We highly recommend that all students and parents go check out the working phone in the electronics lab. I don’t know whether the students are planning to produce these, but I would highly recommend that they do just to get the experience and of course I think that many family members will actually love these devices.
I also encourage all students to check out the curriculum and activities coming up in our electronics classes. Many of our students have gone on to college and have great careers going at this stage and we have open days once a month to show case what you can expect. It is also a great way to learn how to fix cell phones and computers which will put you in high demand with your family. I even had my own cell phone repaired by the student after, wait for it, it fell into a pool.
It was completely useless to me so I asked if anyone in the electronics classes would be interested in trying to repair it. To my delight they did and I was able to retrieve all the info and continue using it. For more info just call into Mark Ryan and he will help you out with any questions.