2013 Praxis Showcase – April 16
A yoga chair to help homebound seniors exercise. A vibrating belt to alert deaf cyclists to traffic noises. A transit alarm strip with a built-in intercom. These were just some of the solutions to Toronto problems devised by first-year U of T Engineering Science students displayed at a day-long showcase at Hart House on April 16.
The showcase is the culmination of a unique EngSci design course known as Praxis. In the course students were encouraged to identify problems throughout the city that can use new answers. The best projects were identified, and multiple teams of students worked to design innovative solutions. The public was invited to the showcase to see the students’ answers to the following challenges:
• Preventing RSI in librarians
• Heat stress in firefighters due to thermal protective clothing
• Developing an arthritis-friendly bicycle handling system
• Exercise for low-income children
• Handwriting for Parkinson’s patients
• Improving the emergency systems on the TTC
• Increasing physical activity in homebound seniors of Toronto
• Improving road safety for deaf cyclists
• Improving street food cart sanitation
• Reducing struck-by injuries in the road construction industry
The showcase gave the students an opportunity to practice their communication skills and explain their proposals and get immediate feedback from city officials, professional engineers as well as members of the general public.
Among those on hand was a group of Toronto firefighters who encouraged the students working on the heat stress problem to continue work on their projects. “This is a problem that really needs a solution,” firefighter Patrick Hayter told the students.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the quality of the solutions and presentations,” said Praxis course instructor Rob Irish. “It showed that the students had synthesized their learning from across the year.”
More information can be found at www.praxis.uoftengineering.com.
CBC Radio’s Mary Ito interviewed students Katlin Kramer-Tonin and Andrei Dranka about their projects. You can listen to the interview here.