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Olin College Team Takes Home Prize in "Arc Tank" Competition

At Northeast Arc’s first “Arc Tank” competition, an Olin College team won $2500 for their design idea of a wheelchair attachment that simplifies the transport and accessibility of goods, allowing for increased independence and an easier traveling experience for people who use wheelchairs 

The students, Andrew Holmes, Mica Chiang, Daniel Daugherty and Sunny Chae from Babson College, created the attachment they call “Shop Drop Roll” as part of last spring’s Engineering for Humanity course at Olin College, taught by Professor of Anthropology Caitrin Lynch and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Design Ela Ben-Ur. The spring course was funded in part by the Metrowest Health Foundation.

In Engineering for Humanity students learn about the challenges that under-served communities face, specifically older adults, and design and create solutions to address those challenges.

“This was a very exciting day for us, we were one of the only teams to get full funding for our idea out of over 100 applications. We look forward to continuing to develop our device with the funds we received,” said Andrew Holmes “We couldn’t have done this without the support of our professors and the older adult we partnered with in Engineering for Humanity.”

The team received the “Outside the Tank” award, which is for “out of the box thinkers—people who can imagine the possibilities, are creative and have entrepreneurial spirit.”

 “This team’s project has gotten a lot of attention since they presented it at Olin in May,” said Lynch. “They’ve met with several healthcare/insurance providers and are working on how to make this system more generalizable. We are extremely proud of them.”

 The Arc Tank competition was “created to positively disrupt the conventional methods of providing services to persons with disabilities.” The winners were selected by a panel of judges including Shirley Leung Columnist and former business editor for the Boston Globe and Quincy Miller, president of Eastern Bank. The event was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston.

More than 100 proposals were submitted by an array of inventors, engineers, human service providers, college students and persons with disabilities.

Take a peek inside Engineering for Humanity here.