This EPICS in IEEE team has completed their Access and Abilities project and has provided an update on the deployment of their project. The team reflected that it is crucial to involve all the necessary stakeholders, such as national policymakers, community decision-makers, and those who will benefit from the technology.  Learn how the team worked together with all the stakeholders to deliver a technology that will help the lives of those with disabilities in the community for years to come.

During the EPICS in IEEE project titled “Accessible smart toilet for sustainable use within communities” which involved IEEE volunteers, engineering students, and community members in Uganda, the team was able to design, fabricate, test, update, and launch the accessible technology to enable people with disabilities to access and utilize sanitation facilities with more convenience. The smart toilet technology includes the capability to automatically adjust to the user for ease of use (read more here).

During the project, the team modified the original design to suit the user’s requirements, with engineering students working closely with the technology beneficiaries. This included the Uganda National Association of the Blind (UNAB), the team’s non-profit partner for the project. The project members learned how to work as a team to solve problems and learned how to adapt to the challenges during the project implementation. In addition, the students reflected “We have learned a lot of soft skills which we shall continue to use as we advance our engineering careers. Skills such as good project management practices, how to work with others, writing skills, and communication skills.”

The project team successfully designed, tested, and deployed the smart disability-friendly toilet technology in their community. The community plans to scale the technology with other partners with hopes of replicating this solution in other communities. The project team thanks EPICS in IEEE for supporting the team in designing, planning, and implementing this project. The project was part of the EPICS in IEEE Access and Abilities competition and was funded by the Jon C. Taenzer Memorial Fund established by the IEEE Foundation in 2019.