Image: BioE Ph.D. student Molly Mollica talks with Seattle’s King 5 TV about the importance of of accessible toys.
December 11’s TCAT Hack for Access: Holiday Toy Event united students and faculty from across the UW with community members, and was led by the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology from the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Bioengineering Outreach, Mechanical Engineering’s Ability & Innovation Lab and AccessEngineering. At the event, volunteers adapted battery-operated toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities. Seattle’s King 5 TV covered the event.
Children with physical and cognitive disabilities often have difficulties operating buttons or on/off switches on typical toys. At the toy hack event, event volunteers pried open and rewired toys to install a part that looks like a headphone jack. A large, easy-to-operate switch can then be plugged into the toy. UW BioE’s WHAT! (Washington Has Adapted Toys!) Bioengineering Honors team trained 20 student volunteers that helped small groups of UW and community members, adapt toys at the event.
“Toys are developmentally important, so they are fun, and that’s a good part of them, but they also teach things like cause-and-effect, motor skills, independence.” – Molly Mollica, BioE Ph.D. student
“Toys are developmentally important, so they are fun, and that’s a good part of them, but they also teach things like cause-and-effect, motor skills, independence,” said Molly Mollica, a UW bioengineering Ph.D. student. Mollica to King 5. Mollica, who helped launch the Toy Adaptation Project at Ohio State University, mentors the WHAT! team along with UW BioE lecturer and honors seminar leader Dr. Dianne Hendricks.