Engineering Students Construct Sensory Pod For Autistic Children

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - by Cheryl Toomey, University Relations graduate assistant
Engineering Students
Engineering Students

Autistic children often suffer from overstimulation, particularly from sights and sounds. Five UTC engineering students – Cassidy Craven, Jimmy DePrimo, Jeremy Stewart, Drew Bennett, and Christopher Jones – have come up with a solution to this problem for one therapy center.

The sensory pod is designed to provide autistic children a place to escape sensory overload and calm down prior to their therapy appointments, which allows them to be more focused.

“I thought this would be an interesting project.

Being able to build something to help someone else is pretty cool. I’ve enjoyed it,” said Mr. DePrimo.

The pod has inner and outer walls made of plywood with insulation in between to muffle sound. The interior of the pod is padded for safety and the top is removable, so that the therapist has easy access to the child. The inside of the pod is covered in marine vinyl, which is waterproof, and is attached with Velcro, so that it can be easily removed and cleaned.

“I think the hardest part was trying to understand the world from their perspective. We had to design this for those kids, and it took quite a bit of brainstorming to figure out what they would need and where they were coming from. That was definitely a learning experience,” said Mr. Stewart.

The team experienced an unexpected hurdle when the therapy center they were originally designing the sensory pod for closed. It took them approximately a week to find a new recipient for their sensory pod. This new therapy center was still under construction, which meant that the team had to alter their initial designs for the sensory pod. Because the new recipients did not know where exactly the sensory pod would go, the team had to make the design smaller and more mobile.

Out of their $400 budget, the team managed to spend only $380.

“We did come in under budget, thankfully. We were fortunate enough to get a $25 gift card from Home Depot, and there were some materials that we were able to repurpose from things we had around our houses to bring in to use, so that helped.” said Mr. Stewart. “I think it turned out pretty good. I’m glad we worked so hard on it.”


PHOTOS: 22nd Annual Verve Dance At Baylor

Cleveland State And Tennessee Wesleyan Sign Dual Admission Agreement

Dr. Harley Knowles, president of Tennessee Wesleyan College, and Dr. Bill Seymour, president of Cleveland State Community College, signed a Dual Admission agreement between the two colleges on Wednesday, Jan. 28. This agreement allows students to enroll concurrently at Cleveland State and Tennessee Wesleyan, providing students the opportunity to complete an Associate’s degree at ... (click for more)

Appeals Court Rules Against WWTA In Lawsuit Brought By Apartment Complex Over $8 Monthly Charges To Units

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of an apartment complex that sued the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Authority (WWTA) over an $8 monthly charge per apartment unit for preparing private service laterals. The court overturned a granting of summary judgment in favor of WWTA by former Judge Jackie Bolton. The appeals court said American Heritage Apartments, ... (click for more)

1 Dies In House Fire In Rhea County

Rhea County Fire Department officials said one person died in an early-morning house fire on Saturday. The call came at about 6:30 a.m. The brick residence is on Fisher Road. S tate arson investigators were on their way. (click for more)

It's Time To Insure Tennessee - And Response

Tennessee has a problem.  What is the value of saving the lives of 1,000 Tennesseans each year? That is exactly what can be expected if 176,000 Tennesseans gain health insurance through Insure Tennessee. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that expansion of Medicaid was associated with a 6% reduction in yearly mortality for people in the 34-65 age group. Statistically, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Boots, Idiots & Guns

As the month of February was born this morning, allow me to hurriedly share three leftovers that were still in last month’s basket: * * * A first-grade teacher had endured a long day and was helping her students bundle up for the trip home when one of the little boys asked for help getting on his boots. Soon she could see why. Even with her pulling, and him pushing, the ... (click for more)