Community Meeting (May 23, 2018): Laboratory Assistive Devices - Collaboration & Distribution


Presenter: Ronald Song


  • Purpose of project
    • Started as a maker project for 4th year thesis for automation
    • potential for a11y needs
    • Want to make it low cost and based on open source technology
  • Basic problem
    • the lab equipment often aren't accessible
      • e.g. small, slippery, small/hard to read labels, etc.
    • the producers of the equipment are most concerned with precision and accuracy
      • assumes an able bodied individual
    • Need to retrofit the equipment, e.g. using a magnifying glass
    • Existing accessible equipment is very expensive
    • You could also hirer a lab assistant to run the experiments, however, the question is whether or not the student is actually learning, because they can only observe.
  • Maker Revolution
    • parts tend to be inexpensive, flexible, and open source
  • Universal Design in Chemistry
    • Most experimental procedures are designed for able students
    • Needs a paradigm shift from learning through physically doing to allow automation
      • e.g. turning a knob on a piece of equipment → interacting with something to adjust the setting on the equipment
      • The learning experience doesn't necessarily come from turning the knob, but from analyzing the data