Workshop on “Assistive Technology and Paralympic Sport Boccia”

Posted by
March 21, 2024

On March 20, 2024, students from the Faculty of Engineering (FOE) at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) were fortunate to attend a workshop titled "Assistive Technology and Paralympic Sport Boccia."

The esteemed speakers were Professor Seiichiro Miura, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Tokuyama College (NITC), Japan, and Mr. Sandun Sampath Vitharana, an Associate Lecturer at NITC with a background in Mechatronics Engineering from KDU itself. Professor Miura holds prestigious positions such as Vice Director of the Center for Collaborative Research and Education and Director of the Tokuyama Assistive Technology Team, whose focus lies in creating assistive devices for sports and recreation.

The workshop was meticulously coordinated by Senior Lecturer Mrs. PPSS Pussepitiya and Lecturer Ms. WVPP Madhumali, and graced by the presence of Major AAM De Zoysa, Captain RS Ginige, and other esteemed faculty members. Approximately 50 students from both intakes (39 and 40) specializing in Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering actively participated.

D/S Visal served as the compere for the event, which commenced at 10:00 AM. D/S Sanodya delivered a warm welcome address, introducing Professor Miura and Mr. Vitharana before inviting them to the stage.

Professor Miura's presentation offered an introduction to the National Institute of Technology (NITC) and its unique KOSEN education system, along with insights into Japanese culture. He then delved into the Tokuyama Assistive Technology Team's philosophy, which emphasizes how personal and environmental factors link to digital transformation, and how new assistive technologies can be applied in various fields.

Mr. Vitharana showcased the team's diverse project portfolio, including a Dance Analyzer to help aspiring dancers compare their movements with instructors, educational tools for non-local students like a Kanji learning platform and Science and Technology teaching materials, and the importance of programming languages LaTex and Octave in active learning.

The main focus of the workshop was the Universalization of Boccia Ramps. Mr. Vitharana began by introducing the Paralympic sport of Boccia. He then presented the Boccia Ramp, a device designed to make the sport accessible to individuals with limited mobility. The ramp allows remote control of the throwing angle and distance through ultrasound sensors or an AI camera for finger tracking.

Finally, a Paper Rocket dispenser, showcasing student innovation at NITC, was also demonstrated. Professor Miura concluded the session by emphasizing the importance of using innovation and technology to help others.

The workshop concluded at 12:00 PM with a token of appreciation presented to the guests by Mrs. Pussepitiya and Ms. Madhumali, followed by a vote of thanks delivered by D/S Minidu.