Former Drumheller resident Justin Turner and project partner Abilee Kellett of Robert’s Creek BC placed 2nd in the international 2017 RESNA Student Design Competition in New Orleans last week.
The two Master of Occupational Therapy students at UBC in Vancouver designed “ChairStairs”, a wheelchair-mounted folding staircase, which allows independent chair-to-floor transfers for manual wheelchair users (https://www,youtube.com/watch?v=lmky01Xor9w for 1.34 min).
RESNA, Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, holds an annual Student Design Competition, which is “a multidisciplinary showcase of innovative assistive technology designs created by students in engineering, design, and health related fields at the undergraduate and master level”, said Dr William C. Miller, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine at UBC.
Turner and Kellett were among 8 finalist teams selected from 76 worldwide entries. This earned them funding from the US National Science Foundation for their return flights, conference registration, one year RESNA membership, and three nights at the Hilton Riverside hotel for the annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Justin Turner, who lived in Drumheller 1992-2003 and the summers of 2010 and 2011, is the son of James Turner and the late Corey Favell. He and Kellett earn their MOT degrees this July, and share a prize of US$700.00. First place went to a team from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, who won US$1,000.00 for the design tŰthbrush.
Turner said, “The other finalist teams were all from medical or other kinds of engineering backgrounds, and had very sleek, refined prototypes for which they had been given big budgets and worked closely with professors, so I feel especially proud that Abby and I did so well, since it was just the two of [us in] our work (though we got feedback from some clinicians and professors on our presentation, which was helpful). We beat 74 other teams from around the world to get to this point – very good feeling!”