Greetings 2020 Tech Bandits

Hello Tech Bandits!

So happy that you’ve decided to join us for this year’s round of mad Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math Maker-ing!
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Tech Bandit cause thus far… and I invite everyone else to consider contributing whatever you can.  All the money goes towards making it possible to do cool STEAM stuff with kids… like yours!  Donations can be made at https://www.patreon.com/techbandits …and please share the link with friends and family in the hopes that they may want to pitch in too!

This year our focus will be on assistive tech… We’re looking to inspire Tech Bandit collaborations with people living with disabilities, be they related to physical, developmental or mental health issues…by creating cool Maker projects with them!  You may want to start discussing ideas with your Bandits, so I wanted to give you an idea of what kind of trouble we’re hoping to get into this year!

THE EVIL PLAN

Once the holidaze are over, we’ll meet up over lunch and talk about different disabilities and the myriad of different technologies that could be used to help make lives easier… the first thing being how best to collaborate with the kids who need this stuff the most!  
We’ll then be dividing into two bands of 5 bandits and TTC’ing our way over to marvelous McCordic school for kids with developmental and physical disabilities.  5 kids at a time is McCordic’s recommended number, so I’ll be doing this over two days. We need to keep the groups small so we don’t overwhelm them with our Tech Bandit awesomeness!  šŸ˜‰

On our visit we’ll be getting a tour to see how the school works and meet some of the staff and kids over there, learn about their day and what kind of projects we can be working with them on.   
Next we craft our plan of attack!  What projects will we be working on… and how will we make it happen?

It’s TECH TIME!

I’ve got a few XBox assistive controllers like these:

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Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller

and eye trackers allowing eyes to follow things like this:

In-game eye-tracking with Tobii

so we’ll be looking into customizing these amazing assistive controllers for people with various disabilitiesĀ so that we can all play video games together…

A gamer with disabilities and his engineer friend having fun trying out the multitude of switches available for the Xbox adaptive controller.

here’s a video about these amazing things that work on XBox and Windows PC:Ā 

and here’s what happens when you add eye control to minecraft!

We’ll also be looking into some Maker creations for McCordic’s sensory wall… maybe a wall of locks or something like this amazing box of switches:

And we can’t go a year with robots!?Ā  I know that the McCordic kids will enjoy some Robot dance demos? I was there the other day with a couple of robot and the possibilities are endless… though I doubt our robots will be this big!

Our robots will be more like these line dancing EZ-Robots:

I’ve also just got my hands on a crazy cheap old electric Magellan wheelchair: 

A picture of a similar Magellan electric wheelchair model. Ours isn’t as new as this one, but it runs beautifully!

…Which I’m hoping we can begin exploring all sorts of assistive projects with.Ā  Given the weather, maybe an electric snow plow?

Or since I also haveĀ  one of these OpenBCI headsets…Ā 
…maybe even a wheelchair controlled by our brains!

Enjoy exploring and discussing all of this with your Tech-Bandit-in-waiting and feel free to get in touch with any comments or suggestions as we STEAM into 2020

Have a great Holiday and I look forward to conspiring and creating with your Tech Bandits in the new year.

Peace!

David Hewlett

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