"Skills gained from completing these unique puzzles will help kids grow into independent and functional adults and help improve the quality of their lives and sucess in school. " - Amanda Kute,OTD, OTR, HPCS
Currently I am a volunteer in a children's hippotherapy program where therapists use horses to assist in therapeutic rehabilitation for physical and cognitive disabilities.
After 3 - 4 months of volunteering and researching with the therapists and other volunteers, I began to realize something that I simply couldn't ignore. The therapists expressed a need for better and more specialized tools for their therapy sessions.
I thought to myself, I have the skills to make a difference here, and I have to do something about this. I did a lot of research, asked the therapists a lot of questions about the struggles of these children, and I came up with 3D wood carved puzzles.
I believe this project will have many applications, and can be expanded to touch the lives of millions of people: not only children with autism & special needs, but wounded war veterans, stroke victims, and other adults who cope with head trauma.
Here are three different puzzles that address different needs. They are based on real objects used in every day life.
"Zoobits allow for individuals with mental or physical disabilities to utilize their problem solving skills while incorporating fine motor skills. These puzzles are an interactive way to keep individuals interested and involved in their therapy by having fun solving puzzles." - Lauren Jarman, SPT
This allows for exercises which identify objects, test memory, and help build the ability to follow instructions. The Keylock puzzle works just like a combination lock. It can have various shapes, numbers, arrows, letters, etc. (This is a concept model.)
The Dial Puzzle works just like rotating knobs on a command board. Each extruding tab will have pictures that match up with one of the symbols on the other dial. This allows for the matching of objects which are related, math problem solving, and other challenges.
The Ring Puzzle works with a base ring and then 8 pegs which are inserted by the participant. They can be rotated up to 4 directions and can be put into any of the 8 holes. This will help strengthen the pincer muscles for hand use, improve hand-eye coordination, increase the ability to follow instructions, and improve memory sequence.
"These unique puzzles will help in so many ways in the hippotherapy program. They can help with hand-eye coordination while working on focus and concentration." - Jessica Hurst, therapeutic riding instructor
So far, the puzzles have been designed, the concepts were reviewed by therapists, and the puzzles are modeled so they can be produced using the wood cnc machine. The next step is to get them printed, so they can be tested by children, revised, and ready to be used in therapy programs to help children with special needs and autism.
- July 2013 - Kickstarter funding complete.
- August 2013 - Purchase all necessary equipment.
- Sept 2013 - Familiarized with new cnc machine and software.
- Nov - Dec 2013 - Produce first set of puzzles.
- Dec 2013 - Begin production of Kickstarter rewards.
- Jan - March 2014 - Test and Refine.
- April 2014 - Finish Final Puzzles.
- July 2014 - Project and All Kickstarter Rewards Fulfilled!
Please note Zoobits rewards are represented by icons since I want to work with the machine first to ensure I know how to get the best clean and crisp detail into the woodwork. This means modeling for the rewards will take place after funding, due to the fact that any changes in model would mean a complete remodel of the rewards... and a lot of extra work!
Your help and funding is needed to acquire the following.
- Machine which reproduces the 3D model into a wooden shape.
- Materials for multiple test runs based off therapist feedback.
- Finishing tools for proper end quality production of puzzles.
- Amanda Kute, OTD, OTR, HPCS
- Lauren Jarman, SPT
- Jessica Hurst
Risks and challenges
Rewards may take longer to fulfill if the project receives a higher volume of supporters than expected. Please keep in mind the machines can do about 8x8 inches area of detail in about one hour.
Supporters will be updated on any change in deadlines due to volume of rewards needing to be produced. If funding and number of supporters is large enough additional CNC machines will be purchased to speed up production time.
Limitations of hardware: Without first having the hardware to test there could be need to make modifications to the models to ensure the best production quality.
Learning Curve: The hardware has some proprietary software machine side, which will require testing and tinkering so that it can be adapted to. Once familiar a fluid and efficient workflow pipeline will be established.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)