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.”


Augustine Named Recipient Of Lee’s Excellence In Scholarship Award

Dr. Daniela C. Augustine, associate professor of theological ethics, has been named as the recipient of Lee University’s 2016 Excellence in Scholarship Award. The winner of this award is chosen each year by the Faculty Committee on Research and Scholarship. Lee President Dr. Paul Conn officially recognized Dr. Augustine for this award during spring commencement earlier this ... (click for more)

East Ridge High School Unveils New Uniforms At McDonald's Fundraiser

The East Ridge High School football team will be sporting new uniforms this season thanks to a community supported fundraiser hosted by the Ringgold Road McDonald’s restaurant.      The McDonald’s parking lot, turned fundraising headquarters, played host to the team as they waved signs and asked McDonald’s customers for donations. McDonald’s is the sponsor of ... (click for more)

Large Hole Develops In Lane Of I-24 Eastbound Over Chestnut Street; Emergency Repair Undertaken

 A large hole developed in the I-24 eastbound bridge over Chestnut Street in Chattanooga on Sunday evening. Jennifer Flynn of TDOT said, "The hole is such that we are having to close a lane to protect traffic.  This will cause a significant backup in traffic, especially given the holiday.  "This is the same bridge, but different location that we recently did ... (click for more)

12 Lost Hikers Rescued At Rainbow Lake, Edwards Point

Eleven adults and a child were briefly lost at Rainbow Lake and Edwards Point trails on Signal Mountain on Sunday. A 911 call was made at 9:45 p.m. from one of the hikers reporting the group lost sunlight hiking out of the trails at Edwards Point. Th Signal Mountain Fire Department and the Walden's Ridge Emergency Services have responded to the scene to ... (click for more)

Parking Discrimination Downtown

Many taxpayers who reside in Chattanooga (but outside Chattanooga's core) feel left behind when it comes to neighborhood paving, sidewalks, policing, streetscaping, street sweeping, public transportation, and other services. Some think most tax dollars are spent on downtown and not in their neighborhoods. It's not as if they can't vicariously experience the largesse of downtown. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Nameless Ghost

One hundred years ago the United States was at war. The most intense fighting during World War I was on what was called The Western Front. The Germans wanted to invade France from the north and in order to do it, they had to push through Flanders province in Belgium. It has been described as a hell unequalled in raw hand-to-hand combat, In just four months on Flanders fields, ... (click for more)