SUNY Poly Student Team Wins 2nd Place in Annual 2022 CREATE Program to Help Those with Disabilities Succeed

SUNY Poly Student Team Wins 2nd Place in Annual 2022 CREATE Program to Help Those with Disabilities Succeed

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 12:46
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NYSID News Release

The CREATE Symposium Returned with New Inventions by College Engineering Students that Will Help Individuals with Disabilities Become More Successful in the Workplace

University at Albany/Center for Disability Services (1st Place $15,000), SUNY Polytechnic/Arc Oneida-Lewis (2nd place $10,000), CUNY City College/Goodwill NYNJ (Schedule and Structure/ASLNOW Projects)(3rd place tie $5,000 each)

(Albany) - NYSID (New York State Industries for the Disabled, Inc.), has announced the winners of the annual 2022 CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) program where college engineering students collaborate with rehabilitative support organizations to develop innovations that help those with disabilities succeed in their jobs. Students from around the state participated in the CREATE program and demonstrated their technologies at NYSID’s annual symposium held on April 25 in Albany. 

University at Albany/Center for Disability Services took top prize for its Paper Shredder Disposal System. SUNY Polytechnic/Arc Oneida-Lewis came in second place for its Slate Cleaning and Packaging Product, and CUNY City College/Goodwill NYNJ Schedule and Structure and ASLNOW projects tied for third place awards. The prize amounts were $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 dollars, respectively. However, all the demonstrated inventions will be utilized by NYSID Member Agency non-profits where individuals with disabilities work.

Descriptions of all the projects are included below. 

A panel of community business leaders evaluated and scored the CREATE projects. The prize money that was awarded will be split between students, their universities and their rehabilitation organization partners. This year there were nine teams from five colleges and five NYSID member rehabilitation organizations each presenting their assistive technology. Members of the NYS Legislature attended and spoke at CREATE. 

“The CREATE Symposium is one of our favorite events of the year. Not only does it showcase part of what we do at NYSID, it allows for innovation from college students to help make it easier for our member organizations to employ people with disabilities,” said Maureen O’Brien, President and CEO of NYSID. “In New York State, 67 percent of people with disabilities are not employed or are underemployed. CREATE offers an opportunity for students to build a specially designed invention that can go a long way toward helping an individual become more productive in the workplace. We are excited about the 2022 inventions and congratulate the winners and everyone who participated.”

Colleges/NYSID Member Agencies/Inventions Include: 

SUNY Polytechnic/Arc Oneida-Lewis

·      Slate Cleaning and Packaging Project – The main focus of this project is to improve the system currently in place to wash and package slate used to make cutting boards that come to them from a local quarry. The project aims to improve how they move the heavy slate from one station to the other as well as heavy buckets of cleaning liquid used to wash the slate.

CUNY City College/Goodwill NYNJ

·      Altri – Altri is an Android application developed using Java in Android Studio. The goal is to improve the independence of adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and provide them with support throughout their tasks while trying to help enhance their social skills. There are two main components to the app: a scheduler and an AI chatbot.

·      Autism Bridge – The team created an app-based solution that aims to tackle the foremost causes of the high unemployment rate faced by people with ASD. An employer's lack of understanding about autism often creates difficulties in applying for jobs or handling interview situations effectively. By providing a professional network mobile application with a special focus on people with ASD, it will help eliminate the difficulties in applying for jobs by connecting individuals with recruiters, talent managers and potential employers.

·      ASLNOW – ASLNOW’s objective is to provide an equal and comfortable workplace experience for individuals that have any form of hearing loss. They accomplish this by improving on speech-to-text and including speech to American Sign Language (ASL) and ASL-to-text via a graphical keyboard interface. The app will allow people to text or send audio to other coworkers. The app will then translate the audio or text to ASL when communicating with a user who knows ASL. For people who only communicate through ASL, the team will develop a graphical keyboard enabling users to chat in ASL and, depending on the user's choice, the text will be translated to English or kept in ASL.

·      Schedule and Structure – An app that aims to help individuals with autism and/or ADHD with organizing, planning and staying focused on tasks. The app will allow for collaboration between workers and supervisors. With its scheduling features, chat space and mood tracker, it will allow for greater ease of communication and building structure for their day.

Manhattan College/Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State

·      High-Res Headband Document Scanner & Transmitter – Smile Farms is a workplace that employs physically disabled individuals on various tasks which can range from watering plants to shredding paper in bulk. Randy, who works at Smile Farm, is immobile from neck down with some control over his fingers. He aspires to work in the paper scanning department and requested the team build a device to scan documents in a way that does not require him to use his hands. The team came up with the idea of creating a wireless scanner that could transmit the scanned documents to a computer without much, if any, human involvement needed.

·      Smart Register – CP of NYS has a location in the Bronx that is opening a cafeteria. The workers with disabilities at this location have trouble using the cash register. The Member Agency partner requested that the team develop a Smart Register as there are little to no smart cash registers that are designed for workers with disabilities. The team plans on using a system to scan currency with a camera. The system will recognize the currency and upload it to a touchscreen panel that is connected to an application. The application will then compute the change the worker needs to give to the customer.

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT)/AHRC Nassau 

·      Shipping Material Process Improvement – NYIT intends to create a technology that standardizes the process of cutting and gluing specific cardboard shipping materials. The new technology will create a safe and productive environment to maximize the output of quality cardboard shipping materials, thus enabling AHRC to train more individuals with disabilities to produce the materials.

SUNY Albany/Center for Disability Services

·      Paper Shredder Disposal System – One of the shredders in the Mail Fulfillment affirmative business is difficult to empty. The process currently used is to place a cart with two bags under the shredder, wait until they are full, then remove the bags, lift them and throw all the paper into another box. Often, a worker with a disability has difficulty lifting the bag without assistance, reducing the worker’s productivity. The goal of the project is to make the process easier by allowing the worker to dispose of the paper through an automatic process, resulting in more efficiency.

Judges weree: 

Eric Ledet, Center for Disability Services; John Robinson, Our Ability; Stacey Hengsterman, Special Olympics New York; Maggie Duffy, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield; Mark Eagan, Capital Region Chamber; Elaina Heagerty, St. Peter’s Health; Heather Briccetti, Business Council of New York; Bradley Jacobs, Spectrum Designs; and Andy Grosso, CREATE Founder.


NYSID is a not-for-profit business with a mission of "Advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities." Established in 1975, NYSID is a registered 501(c)(3) Not for Profit which creates employment opportunities for nearly 5,000 New Yorkers with disabilities annually through New York's Preferred Source Program. NYSID's community rehabilitation Member Agencies and Corporate Partners are located throughout the state, providing jobs in the community and in production facilities. For more information, visit