Aurora students use technology to improve the lives of those with disabilities

Aurora students are developing new inventions to help the disabled in their community. They are designing items to make everyday tasks easier.

What we love about this is nearly every student has someone in their life that can benefit from their inventions, from grandparents to neighbors. The kids are so proud to be giving back in such a powerful way.

It is the little things, like a revamped zipper pull that is making life easier for the disabled in west suburban Aurora.

"I do know a family friend who lost complete mobility in his fingers, so he uses his wrists for basic tasks, so it was really nice to know that what I’m doing could potentially help him in the near future," said Shane Miller.

Miller is a senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School. Students there have engineered new tools using a computer program and 3D printers.

"To me, it was an engineering class. It was important for kids to see not so much what they do on a drawing, but what the final project is and how that can be applicable to the real world," said instructor and IT support Guy Herrmann.

Herrmann reached out to the Association for Individual Development in Aurora for a list of common problems facing disabled clients.

"One of the things we found is individuals especially when they lose mobility with their fingers, it's difficult to hold up a deck of cards, so we actually developed a piece that actually holds the cards for them," Herrmann said.


Other inventions include a wheelchair ramp, penholder and can opener.

"The goal of any assistive device is to make people more independent so the more items we have, the more we can offer to people to increase their independence, so that helps with their goal," said Assistive Technology Specialist Sue Hamlin.

"It's nice to know that I'm using my hard work, my energy and my time on something where I know that's for good and it's going to help other people," Miller said.

The materials are purchased by the school and donated to the association for individual development. The organization serves 90 Aurora residents with special needs.