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July 18, 2014

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Students drawn by a love of science

HONG Kong students demonstrated a device that helps visually impaired children learn drawing and mathematics at the fifth Shanghai International Youth Science and Technology Expo yesterday.

Despite being known as an “Eye-Pad,” the device presented by a team from the Hong Kong Chinese Women’s College is most certainly low-tech, made of velcro tape, straws and cotton twine.

Users wear the device on their wrist. It features a reel of twine that sits on the back of the hand and runs through a straw to an attachment on the user’s forefinger.

The user traces outlines on a “pad” made of velcro and as they draw the twine sticks to the velcro, capturing the outline.

“We enjoy using our fingers to do many things on our iPads, and that inspired us to make this device so that children with visual impairments can have the same fun,” said Hong Tsz Ki, one of the five-strong team.

She said some special schools in Hong Kong have begun using the device, and that it has proved very popular.

The Eye-Pad was among the 21 exhibits displayed at yesterday’s expo, which attracted nearly 100 students and their teachers from eight countries and regions including Australia, Singapore, India and Mexico.

The expo is held biennially by the city government to promote friendship and understanding between young people around the world.

This year’s expo takes the theme “Science and Technology Innovations in Daily Life,” and many exhibits feature students’ solutions to everyday problems.

A team from River Valley High School in Singapore exhibited a box device which arranges shuttlecocks, with only the occasional shake required to help the process along.

And students from American School Foundation of Guadalajara A.C. in Mexico brought a vertical, self-sustainable greenhouse.

The expo runs until Monday.


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