Color & Control:

Painting and drawing rediscovered

McMaster student invents Guided HandsTM to help patients rediscover their passion for painting and wins National James Dyson Award.

In North America, there are over 58 million people experiencing limited hand mobility, hand and arm weakness, and difficulty grasping and controlling objects, leading to a loss of independence and self-expression.

At age 18, Biomedical and mechanical engineering student Lianna Genovese created Guided HandsTM a device that enables anyone living with limited hand mobility to write, paint, draw and use a touch-screen device. Her innovation won the James Dyson Award for Canada. Lianna says, “I met Elissa who lives with Cerebral Palsy, and after hearing she’d lost her ability to paint, I wanted to help give her back her passion.” 

Inspired by the mechanics of a 3D printer, Guided HandsTM uses a simple sliding system composed of linear shafts and ball bearings. The system promotes controlled and guided hand movements in horizontal, vertical and swivel hand motions as the user holds an ambidextrous handpiece customized to hand size and level of impairment. The handpiece is connected to an arm attachment that holds writing utensils (paintbrush, pen, marker, stylus, etc.) and uses the patient’s gross motor skills in their shoulder to perform activities rather than relying on fine motor skills in the hand and has a unique sliding system to glide the hand seamlessly. 

Lianna has worked with Elissa and 150 patients of varying medical conditions, neurologists, and OT’s to help perfect Guided HandsTM.

Today, at 21 Lianna is the founder of ImaginAble Solutions and plans to enter the market with Guided Hands this year and will compete in the International James Dyson awards.

The James Dyson Award recipients have designed something that solves a problem. This problem may be a frustration that we all face in daily life, or a global issue. The important thing is that the solution is effective and demonstrates considered design thinking. Over £130,000 is awarded in prize money.

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