8th grader builds a communication device for his paralyzed friend
Ethan Kadish who was struck by lightning at a summer camp back in 2013 has unfortunately been wheelchair dependent and unable to communicate ever since. The incident has limited the kid’s normal body functioning, since after the lighting strike his brain didn’t receive oxygen and damaged brain tissues. He is currently on road to recovery and only time will tell if he’ll be able to get normal life back. This has motivated his friend and classmate Jacob Smilg to create a device which helps him communicate with people.
The Sycamore Junior High Schooler has a passion for electronics and he’s using it for making his buddy’s life easier. Using video board to develop a mechanism which understands Ethan’s head tilt as a yes or no makes complete sense and makes things easier for people nearby too. The device is a message board which displays ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in brightly lit letters to show Ethan’s response for any query.
According to Ethan’s mom, after using this device he has communicated a whole lot more than he used to do in the past one-and-a-half year. It involves the kid in communication and makes him feel good about what’s happening around.
As for Jacob, the whiz kid is not stopping at just making this device and wants to develop a simplified keyboard which has lesser buttons and can be operated by any body part other than the fingers. He also wishes that the current version of his device could have 3D printed enclosure to prevent tangled wires.