Tetr@UT is an assistive device design club that recruits volunteers from the Skule community to create custom assistive devices for disabled clients with needs that cannot be met by commercial items. Tetra's work focuses on fully understanding the problem faced by the client, thinking creatively and innovatively about potential solutions, iterating through different designs and solutions, experimenting with prototypes, and analyzing and fine-tuning the final product. Tetr@UT also promotes interactions amongst researchers, organisations, and others with an interest in assistive technology primarily within the context of the University of Toronto community. Our aim is to give clients greater involvement in their community and, ultimately, new opportunities.
Our members become superior engineers by experiencing the entire cycle of product development in a team environment. Furthermore, interaction with disabled clients with complex needs allows them to hone interpersonal skills. By taking into account the needs and sensitivities of people with disabilities, students are becoming more aware of an often invisible minority that exists across the planet, and in the process, they become activists for positive change in the world. We provide an engineering design experience that can be viewed in 2 parts: design challenges within the club which allows our members to develop and practice their skills, and real-world clients with projects that will challenge the skills and expertise of our members. Furthermore, students must discover how to successfully negotiate within the physical constraints of the project, and also to navigate within the bounds of a limited budget. Overall, our members become more skilled, productive and confident members of the Skule community, who bring only positive publicity to the Skule brand.