Welcome to the Tinker pages – a place in which to share experiments with technology that are fun, but also – it is hoped – helpful to others.
For a number of years I have been eager to learn about the therapeutic benefits of technology.
Friends – especially those in Ireland – have been inspiring me with incredibly novel approaches to helping others by harnessing the potential of technologies to support, empower and strengthen people who might otherwise miss out on all that life can offer them.
Healthcare technology products already abound within a well established market. Whether deployed rapidly in an emergency, or put in place for those facing a long term debilitating illness, it is hard to imagine 21st Century life without access to advanced equipment across the healthcare sector. There are innovations that enhance dexterity, mobility, communication and drug administering. Sensors are at work monitoring a multitude of vital signs and providing healthcare professionals with life-saving data.
The therapeutic benefits of technology are to be found across society and in a wide range of contexts. Usually these are developed and issued by large organisations.
Where this initiative will differ from the existing mainstream medical support currently available, is that it is small, nimble and determined to be inquisitive. Computing enthusiasts relish the opportunity to apply innovation to solve real-world need.
We are creating a prototyping space – a place to explore new ideas at a hobby level which could then be taken up by those with the means to scale them up, should the benefits be proven.
We will seek to design and create new instances of physical computing that are helpful to those in need.
Particular focus will be given to helping young people, for example those who have found it difficult to advance their learning or attainment within mainstream education.
Mental health will be a major priority to address: therapies that can help people of all ages with their own mental wellbeing.
The reuse of what would otherwise become eWaste will also form a cornerstone of what we will do: old and seemingly defunct equipment that could be considered end-of-life will be incorporated where possible.
Computer equipment from the 1990s through to yesterday’s, is still capable of useful functionality. Where we can recycle old equipment into becoming a component of a new endeavour, it saves that particular eWaste from landfill or the often-flawed stripping down that poorer nations become involved in.
More helpfully it demonstrates tangibly that there is value in old kit: perhaps more of us will consider opportunities to reuse technology if we can be shown what is possible with it.
We will blog and podcast progress. Equipment will be itemised and a link provided to where it originated.
Testing will be offered to volunteers at various Swindon schools or community groups – often those already involved in Flickernet Space To Learn or STEM initiatives.
Feedback from professional medical health workers will also be sought.
Video meetings which connect Irish and English computer specialists will enable ongoing analysis of progress and promote peer accountability.
Wider sharing of what we produce will follow through the STEM Community, CAS Community, Odyssey Hub and via social media.
This is a charitable venture: there will be no cost for any individual or organisation who can benefit from what is built.
Preliminary Warm Up Projects
1. Digital Fishtank – for the School Of Solutions, The Park Academies Trust
2. Live Painting – watch every brush stroke as the painting is created, looped.
Both of these are designed to be calming for pupils to promote a positive and relaxing atmosphere in the newly developed School Of Solutions facility, Lydiard Park Academy.
Estimated completion: October 2023
A pin ball table which will help young people to acknowledge their worries through a fun and engaging game.
Each circular ‘pin’ target will have a screen, sensors and servos. They will be programmable so that each has written on it the worry and associated media.
Points are scored by hitting the worry pins – which encourages the end user to address those concerns and to articulate the scope / associated feelings and depth of each concern.
More details to follow here, along with the first podcast on this topic.