How Can I Create or Improve an Assistive Device?

Anonymous asks, quote:

Hello! I’m an undergrad engineering student doing a design project. I’m trying to create or improve some sort of assistive device. I’m sure some devices have annoying bits that could be improved, but I’ve no idea what would be useful/most appreciated — any ideas from your personal life? Keep in mind I’m a first year student with not much knowledge, but I have a $100 grant and time/resources to learn — so tell me whatever you want, I’ll build it, and if it works it might go commercial! Thanks.

end quote.

I actually get asked this question a lot and my answer is pretty much the same each time: make a folding chair that doesn’t suck. The mechanisms are flimsy and the restrictions on things like what angle I can have the foot rest at is annoying (I like my legs at a 90 degree angle to the seat and folding chairs don’t allow that).

Unfortunately, I don’t think that fits within your $100 budget. In that case, I would focus on inventing a universal cupholder that can be easily removed and stored and is capable of handling everything from a thick pint glass to delicate stemware.