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What would you design, having money for your idea?

vtuvawm 2 / 4 1  
Nov 25, 2018   #1

something that would make an everyday life better

If you were given funding for a small engineering project that would make everyday life better for one friend or family member, what would you design?

Would appreciate some criticism and feedback on this essay for UVA Engineering. The word limit is 300.

My cousin is left-handed, although not by choice. His right hand suffers from permanent paralysis; a defect that has been with him since he was born. Because of this, he has trouble using many tools that we take for granted on the daily. One of these tools is the keyboard and mouse.

If I were to design my own engineering project, I would create a mouse that is controlled by the feet. That way, people who are limited to one hand can use their free hand to type on the keyboard and their feet to navigate the mouse. The mouse would be separated into two parts: an area for clicking and an area for moving the mouse icon. The area for clicking would contain two pedals for the right and left mouse click. The pedals would be similar to those on a piano, requiring only a little force to activate them. The area for moving the mouse would be a 2ft x 2ft touchpad that is sensitive to the movement of the user's foot. Each foot will control one part of the mouse. This may be an awkward approach to using a computer at first due to the limited range of motion for ankles, but I'm sure that after a couple of times, people will get used to the mouse.

This project would help my cousin feel more comfortable when playing computer games and browsing the Internet while also helping me enhance my knowledge in computer hardware.

ch15hann 6 / 11 3  
Nov 26, 2018   #2
I think overall, the message of your essay is great and it is very clear as to what you want to design. However, I think the sentences are a little plain because you tend to use a pattern of "I want to do this in order to...". Maybe you could also add some transitions into some of the sentences to make your whole essay flow better. I would suggest starting with your essay with a more grabbing intro. Try this instead: Imagine you were born to only use one hand, and you have no other option. This is exactly what my cousin is going through, a permanent paralysis of his right hand. Because of his disability, I want to...

I'm, just giving you a sample, but feel free to edit it.
Holt - / 7,546 2001  
Nov 26, 2018   #3
Vinh, this seems like an unnecessarily complicated project. Why is it unnecessarily complicated? Mainly because you forgot to consider that all gadgets these days, from android phones to the tablet, can all be controlled by voice. That is the IoT, everything electronic and computerized responds to a voice command. In computers, this includes a voice override for the mouse functions. I know this because I use my keyboard via voice dictation, and that includes the mouse function. So your project is not as forward thinking and cutting edge as you might think. It is a bit backward in presentation since this problem has already been solved for your cousin by technology. Try to think of something else. Something still out of the box.

Remember the replicator from Star Trek? That hasn't become a reality yet. You can think of something along those lines. Unique, useful, and still not in existence. How could something like that help your cousin? The essay is challenging your imagination and out of the box thinking. Your response, though full of well intentions, is a bit short sighted and nulled by the existence of voice activated gadgets at present.
victoria_003 3 / 4  
Nov 27, 2018   #4
This sounds really good, and the project that you talked about is clearly something that's important to you, which is great. I would say that something good to improve on here would to dive a little deeper into the relationship you have with your cousin and why it's so important for you to create something that could help improve his life.

Overall, it looks great but I would say that adding a little bit of a personal feel to it will make it stand out.
Best of luck!

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