HopePressler1
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:20 pm
Occupation: Parent

Is this an engineering design project

Postby HopePressler1 » Sat Sep 12, 2020 5:24 am

My son is interested in designing an email program that would be easily usable by a person with a head injury or dementia. He has an aunt with a head injury and a grandfather with dementia. He has seen how we have struggled to find a program that would work for them, but all of the ones out there fail to meet our expectations. His idea is just to make one himself. We have not done an engineering science fair project before and I wondered if this would qualify.

Also if it does qualify do you have any suggestions where I can direct him to start?

Thank you,
Hope

bfinio
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Occupation: Science Buddies Staff

Re: Is this an engineering design project

Postby bfinio » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:52 am

Hi Hope,

Yes, this would be an engineering design project as opposed to a scientific method project. Many of the engineering design projects on our site involve building a physical prototype of something, but it can also involve writing a computer program or designing software. We have a reference page about the engineering design process and a page comparing it to the scientific method:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... cess-steps

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... fic-method

The big question is whether your son has any previous programming experience. For students with no programming experience at all, we usually recommend Scratch as a starting point. It is a "graphical" programming environment that makes it easy to start programming without having to worry about typos crashing your program:

https://scratch.mit.edu/

However, I don't think you could really use Scratch to make an email program. Another option that lets you develop a functional phone app is MIT App Inventor:

https://appinventor.mit.edu/

We have a project using that here:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science- ... 11#summary

I am not sure if that would let you develop a fully functional email program that can actually send and receive emails, but it may let you at least design the interface.

Making your own working email program would be a very advanced project. I'm a mechanical engineer, not a computer scientist, so that is not really my area of expertise. But if your son already has a lot of programming experience, it may be possible.

Thanks,

Ben

HopePressler1
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:20 pm
Occupation: Parent

Is this an engineering design project

Postby HopePressler1 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 1:28 pm

Hi,

I'm a 7th grader and I'm doing a science fair project about making an app that will create an easy interface for gmail for people with cognitive disabilities. The only problem is I've never made an app before. So I was wondering if you could suggest some programs to me that would make it easy to make an app.

Thank you,
Zachary

MadelineB
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Occupation: Biostatistician/Data Scientist

Re: Is this an engineering design project

Postby MadelineB » Thu Jan 21, 2021 3:47 pm

Hello Zachary,

I've cross-posted this post with the Physical Sciences, partly because we do not have any experts assigned to the Math and Computer Science forum and also an expert in the Physical Science forum was helping you with your previous post. I will also alert the administrator to see if there are experts who could provide more specific help on this project. Thank you and good luck with your project.

MadelineB
Moderator
Posts: 823
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:42 pm
Occupation: Biostatistician/Data Scientist

Re: Is this an engineering design project

Postby MadelineB » Thu Jan 21, 2021 7:17 pm

Hi Zachary,

I googled "how to build accessible app design" and found several promising links.

This discusses all the various (in)accessible features to consider:

https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/make-you ... ccessible/

Maybe these plus the app inventer that the expert mentioned (see above) will lead you to something helpful!

Let us know if any of this helped and if you have more questions. Good luck with your innovative project!


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