Category: Physical Therapy

A student pilots an assistive drawing device for people with upper limb disabilities who lack fine motor skills, giving them the ability to draw. Here, she's playing a game with blue butterflies on the screen.
Junior mechanical engineering major Sara Dugan demonstrates the latest version of PushnDraw® that she helped design. The device allows children with upper limb disabilities to play games, navigate mazes and draw freely.

Enabling artistic expression

February 10, 2023 Written by Amy Cherry | Photo by Ashley Barnas

Assistive drawing device developed through UD cross-college innovation aims to help people with disabilities

Artistic expression is a pivotal part of child development. 

But many children with upper limb disabilities lack fine motor skills, inhibiting their ability to hold a pencil, paint or draw. Ashley Pigford is on a lifelong mission to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by designing assistive technology that helps them live more independently. 

The associate professor of art and design in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Delaware, has created innovative and affordable assistive eating and other mobility devices. Now, Pigford’s PushnDraw® is advancing to the next level through intensive and user-centered research. This next phase of development is possible because of a $50,000 grant from the donor-created Maggie E. Neumann Health Sciences Research Fund, which targets research and innovation that aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities. 

Related News

  • Going the extra mile

    October 25, 2023 | Written by Amy Cherry
    University of Delaware physical therapy students provide peer mentorship to a Florida runner recovering from brain cancer. As part of a service-learning project., the students helped Allen Roberson build confidence and obtain his certified medical assistant license while DPT students learned compassion and holistic care strategies that will serve them well in their careers.
  • Meaningful gains for stroke survivors

    October 23, 2023 | Written by Amy Cherry
    The National Institutes of Health has renewed a multi-million-dollar clinical trial grant for Department of Physical Therapy Chair and Professor Darcy Reisman to continue her work examining high-intensity interval training in post-stroke patients. This marks the continuation of a previous five-year grant that resulted in a high-profile paper in JAMA Neurology. UD is one of just three sites involved in this important work which thus far has found that optimal dosing for walking exercise for patients with chronic stroke may include at least 12 weeks of training at vigorous intensity.
  • The future of medical education

    September 13, 2023 | Written by Kelly Bachman
    Dean Bill Farquhar discusses his vision for the College of Health Sciences in a Q&A.
View all news