MOUSE Corps Legacy Projects

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MOUSE Corps is a youth-centered design and technology program that develops emerging leadership, professional and technical skills of select high school students from MOUSE Squads across NYC.

Students taking part in this year long afterschool program are self-proclaimed geeks, techies, artists, activists, innovators and tinkerers who will achieve over 100 hours of applied design, technology, workplace and leadership experience through their participation in MOUSE Corps.

Over the course of the program students brainstorm, prototype, and present their Legacy Project, a new technology which addresses a need in their community, while building their skills and exploring career pathways with technology mentors across diverse professional settings.

MOUSE Corps 2011-2012

In 2011/2012, MOUSE Corps students were challenged to design new technology for the blind and visually impaired. Working with volunteers at the Visions Center, students conducted interviews and observations to identify design-ready needs in this community. After several months of brainstorming, prototyping and implementation, there are now four amazing Legacy Projects.

2011-2012 Legacy Projects (click to view their project blog):

The Dining Band: Created by a team of seven high school students, the Dining Band helps people who are blind or vision-impaired identify where food is on their plate, to avoid social anxiety at the table due to messy, time-consuming or awkward eating. The device is an Arduino circuit with a temperature sensor and a distance sensor attached to a wristband, which vibrates discreetly as their fork hovers over food on the plate.

The Fashionator: Created by a team of five high school students, Fashionator is designed to be smartphone app to help the blind or vision-impaired choose and locate outfits in their own closet that match and are appropriate for a selected type of occasion. Students created a Scratch-based prototype of a single function of their design, along with screenshots of how it would work on a smartphone.

The Smart Chair: Created by a team of four high school students, the SmartChair is an adapted wheelchair equipped with distance and ultrasonic sensors to help a vision-impaired user avoid and navigate around obstacles in their path. This team created a fully-operational prototype.

Your Path: Travelling app - Created by a team of five high school students, “Your Path” is a smartphone app idea that would record how vision-impaired and blind users adapt Google Maps directions to accommodate their specific needs and challenges. The phone would store the adapted path for later use or to create reverse directions. These more accessible routes would be uploaded to an online database of adapted paths so others with similar needs can get from location to location safely. A few elements of the Your Path app were prototyped using Java code in Processing, while the remainder of the design can be viewed via screenshots.

2009/2010: Green Technology:

  • Gar-Blog: Gar-Blog is a mobile app that uses a simple paper-toss game to encourage subway riders to document and submit the location of unsanitary conditions throughout the MTA. The Gar-Blog team prototyped their design using Processing on an Android phone.
  • Sol-Tech: Wearable solar-panels that power a rechargeable battery with a USB connection – works on all USB devices. The Sol-Tech team prototyped their design on a Yankee’s cap and a messenger bag.

Legacy Projects examples between 2006-2008

  • Immigration-Ville: Designed by a team of MOUSE Corps youth all of whom were 1st generation immigrants. This video game design allows players to experience life as an immigrant moving to NYC. It was prototyped using Scratch - click here to view the intro animation for the game.
  • YouCantBeatFree.org: A wordpress website with a Linux-Savings-Calculator app that demonstrates how much schools could save by switching to free, open-source software. The student learned some intro PHP, Java and HTML.
  • One Laptop Per Child: a Legacy student created visual support documentation for the OLPC initiative's cross-cultural wiki.
  • RescUSB: A bootable, open-source, user-friendly file-backup tool running on a USB drive to help novice computer users rescue their documents from a broken computer.
  • Digital Dice: This legacy group learned basic circuitry and programming to design a sample robotics project and video for MOUSE's newly released "Garage Robotics" specialist curriculum.