Our presenter at a recent T.E.A.M. Science Café @ LSU was, Ms. Heather Lavender, from the LSU College of Engineering. She talked about the LSU Engineering students she has worked with to design an eyeglasses 3D printing protocol. She works with students who attend the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired (LSVI) who are able to use this protocol to make replacement eyeglass frames. Many of the students at LSVI come from low-income families and do not have the means to buy new eyeglass frames when they have become broken. Ms. Lavender detailed her experience working with these students from LSVI and talked about how engineering students were able to make a standardized and easily reproducible method for low-cost replacement frames.
Also of note on this café, before the café occurred, Ms. Lavender invited teen leaders to visit the LSU College of Engineering. They met with two undergraduates who developed the 3D printing protocol and got to see the different types of 3D printers that students have access to. It was hoped that the undergraduates would be able to join for the actual café, however they were graduating this semester and got a little too busy. Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity for the teen leaders to get a little more up close and personal with people doing great things for the community using STEM.
Hands on Activity
Attendees rotated through three stations:
1) Navigating a space while blindfolded
2) Transcribing a paragraph printed in a very blurry text
3) Small group discussion about their favorite activities that they may no longer be able to enjoy if they were visually impaired or blind