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A Group Of Students Helped Blind Boater To Sail Independently

4 seniors who are students in the Principles and Practices of Assistive Technology program went on to design an audible device which helped an employee in MIT, who was blind to navigate and sail on the water without any further help. The name of the blind employee was Pauline Dowell.

PPAT is basically a coalition between the departments of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science and the Harvard-MIT program in the field of Health Science and Technology.

The main purpose of this program is to seek the attention of upper-level class students and attract students from such majors and others and the students from each semester are then partnered with clients having physical disabilities – these guys are the future of sailing. Many of the clients like Dowell have went to the instruction with their problem that they have come across that could be solved with the help of assistive technology. The students are taught creating and designing a technology for their respective clients throughout the semester.

Pauline sailed on the river of Charles for the first time in her college at Massachusetts College of Design and Art. She enjoyed the freedom and enthusiasm of the sport and despite having partial vision; she gave tough competition to others. But after her college, her vision exacerbated and she became legally blind. And she was unable to adapt. Still, she went to seek help from a training institute which provides training in sailing to blinds but she was unable to cope up with it.

Therefore, she came to the students of the MIT with her problem and the students started working to find the solution to her problem. And they made a visit to Dowell’s house where she lives on a sailboat for testing the device. And they planned to modify the device with some improvement like making it waterproof before giving it to Dowell at semester end.

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