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Student Design Project

Tom Jakobs (Invotek, Inc.)

Kevin Caves (Duke University)


Designing devices accessible to people with disabilities requires that engineers have an awareness not taught in typical engineering classes. This project offers engineering students an opportunity to apply their skills to real-world challenges for people with disabilities, with a focus on communication needs.

desiging devices


• Build disability awareness within the engineering community

• Encourage engineering students to address the needs of people with disabilities

• Measure impact


• Provide examples of engineering projects that met the needs of a person with disabilities

• Offer new project ideas

• Develop class support materials for students and professors

• Offer email engineering support to students undertaking projects

• Monitor website activity and develop surveys to assist in measuring impact

Knowledge Transfer


Kevin Caves

Adding Projects for People with Disabilities to Engineering Design Classes

In this free webcast, Kevin Caves describes strategies he has used for adding projects for people with disabilities to engineering design classes.

ben with headstick

Confessions of an Engineer - Insights into Long Distance Assistive Technology Design

Tom Jakobs (an engineer at InvoTek Inc.) and Ben Chater (who recently graduated from law school) worked together to develop a way for Ben to access the iPhone. This paper describes their approach to collaborative assistive technology design and  development.


Sample Projects

offscreen keyboard


Off Screen Keyboard

Invotek and University of Arkansas Computer Science students developed a new keyboard for people who cannot use their hands to type on standard keyboards.


iPhone headstick

Head Pointer for iPhone

This project developed a special tip for a head pointer so that the client could access an iPhone reliably.


RESNA Student Design Competition


RESNA logo

Project Website

RESNA and the AAC-RERC have partnered to create the RESNA Student Design Competition website. David McNaughton (Penn State) and Maureen Linden (Georgia Tech) have developed and maintained a site featuring submissions to the 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 competitions.