Access Technology

The Coolest Newsletter

The Coolest Newsletter

This month we discuss a whirlwind of events: RIT's Effective Access Technology Conference, the Rochester Venture Challenge, Imagine RIT, and Walk MS!

Powerful Solutions at RIT's IdeaLab

by Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin

The students, mentors, and coaches that participated in RIT's 2016 Fall IdeaLab. 

The students, mentors, and coaches that participated in RIT's 2016 Fall IdeaLab. 

Twice a year the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) holds a intensive problem solving workshop known as IdeaLab. Students, alumni, professors, and community experts volunteer their time for the weekend to brainstorm and present solutions to unique problems assigned by community organizations. As part of RIT's dedication to effective access technology, the IdeaLabs typically focus on healthcare and the medical industry.

This year the Fall IdeaLab partnered with Al Sigl Community of Agencies. The local non-profit presented eight unique problems for the students to consider. The students and coaches then split into eight teams to spend the rest of the weekend working on one of those eight problems.

Team 7 members from left to right: Brad Dunn (design mentor), Mark Brown (student), Crystal Mendoza Paulin (engineering mentor), Gerald Garavuso (team coach), Jiameng Huang (student), Gopika Nair (student), Peggy Fortune (Al Sigl mentor).

Team 7 members from left to right: Brad Dunn (design mentor), Mark Brown (student), Crystal Mendoza Paulin (engineering mentor), Gerald Garavuso (team coach), Jiameng Huang (student), Gopika Nair (student), Peggy Fortune (Al Sigl mentor).

Brad and I lent our design and engineering expertise to the room at large but spent the majority of our time with Team 7. The team was tasked with creating a physical stabilizing system for individuals that use communication devices. This problem was pitched by Al Sigl's member agency, Rochester Hearing and Speech Center. Several neurological disorders that impair speech also impair fine motor movement so the team needed to build a system that could stabilize a user's hand and fingers to produce easy and reliable typing.

Of course, one weekend is not enough time to completely solve these complex problems. However, the hard work and creativity of the teams often produce viable results. Some teams even continue working on the projects after the weekend is over and turn in completed products to the organizations that need them.

IdeaLab is always an interesting and inspiring weekend. RIT was the first to institute a program of this size and magnitude and now the "IdeaLab method" is being propagated throughout other colleges and universities in the United States. I've participated for years and never fail to volunteer at each session. IdeaLab is free and open to the public and I sincerely encourage all of you to observe a session. There's nothing quite like watching the best and brightest work together to create solutions for people with special needs and abilities. And it's all for the betterment of our society.

For more information on RIT's Fall IdeaLab, visit here.

The Coolest News(letter)

November Edition

Hello all,

I can't believe Thanksgiving is nearly upon us! (Where has the year gone?) Here at ThermApparel we have a lot to be thankful for, and it's all thanks to all of you!

We received our finalized products from our manufacturers for the first time this month and we are so happy with the results. After discussing the sizing we have decided to add another option for sales. UnderCool is now available in Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large! The UnderCool is as adjustable as ever, but we wanted to be sure no one was left out of the UnderCool experience!

We visited the MS Society's local RAMS support group meeting for individuals living with MS last month. The amount of overwhelming support we received was truly humbling. At ThermApparel we're committed to making cooling solutions for you and your unique needs. To hear a job well done from the group was more than we could ever have asked for. We are more motivated than ever to make UnderCool as accessible as possible!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stay Cool,
Crystal R Mendoza Paulin
ThermApparel Co-Founder

Big Fun at Al Sigl's WalkAbout

by Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin

Winners of the annual costume contest wait to receive their awards.  Photos courtesy of Jolana Babacek Photography and Al Sigl.

Winners of the annual costume contest wait to receive their awards. Photos courtesy of Jolana Babacek Photography and Al Sigl.

I am a shameless morning person but my co-founders most definitely are not.  So convincing them to arrive at Eastview Mall by 8:30 am on a Sunday morning was no small feat. It was, however, one that I was more than happy to accomplish. So I dragged them, kicking and screaming, to set up our table.

Kurtis Kracke (left) and Brad Dunn (right), tired but present at the Thermapparel table for WalkAbout.

Kurtis Kracke (left) and Brad Dunn (right), tired but present at the Thermapparel table for WalkAbout.

WalkAbout is an event that is very close to my heart. Each year Al Sigl hosts the walk at Eastview Mall to raise money for it's member agencies. Most importantly, however, WalkAbout is a celebration of the abilities of the children serviced by Al Sigl's member agencies. 

I had the wonderful privilege last year to volunteer for WalkAbout and fell in love with the charming children and their ingenious costumes.

Costume contest participants wait to hear results from the judges. 

Costume contest participants wait to hear results from the judges. 

This year Al Sigl was kind enough to offer us a table to showcase UnderCool. We have partnered with Al Sigl since our inception and it is always rewarding to demonstrate our products and progress to the communities that need our cooling solutions the most. We learn so much from the thoughts and impressions of our local experts (hint: that's you!).

Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin at Thermapparel's table talking about UnderCool to a walker.

Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin at Thermapparel's table talking about UnderCool to a walker.

By the end of the event, even Brad and Kurtis perked up (the free coffee certainly helped). We all had so much fun at the event and cannot wait for next year!

For more information on WalkAbout, visit here.

The Coolest News(letter)

September Edition
 

Hello All,

Welcome to ThermApparel’s first Newsletter! Things are always changing and updating with us so we will feature all our greatest updates in this monthly newsletter. Make sure to follow our blog or sign up for our mailing list to continually receive The Coolest News(letter)!

First, we are very happy to announce that we have partnered with Nazareth College to conduct clinical testing of our products. Nazareth College has a wonderful physical therapy department that has agreed to conduct testing of our products on volunteers in their MS Clinic and Neuromuscular Clinic. Ideally, we would begin testing at Nazareth this fall but that largely depends on our ability to raise funds to order our initial 25 prototypes by the end of this month. 

Speaking of manufacturing, we have partnered with FieldTex to sew and manufacture our products! FieldTex is a local manufacturer with impressive experience in soft goods for the fabrication of hand and travel bags. They have since evolved to take on products from the health care industry, from first aid kits to defibrillator vests. We look forward to working with them not only for their knowledge and experience in the area but also for their dedication and commitment to employ and manufacture right here in Rochester. 

We are very excited to be a finalist for Digital Rochester’s GREAT Awards. ThermApparel was nominated for the Student Achievement category back in June. The annual Digital Rochester GREAT Awards receive many nominations and applications for each category so we’re grateful to have been selected as a finalist. Come see us on the Awards night at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center!

We have also been accepted into High Tech Rochester’s TEN Boot Camp, an intensive nine-day entrepreneurship lecture and workshop series that takes place over 4 months. High Tech Rochester has hosted twenty TEN Boot Camps over the years and has admitted ThermApparel into Class XXI after our success with Summer Start. We believe it is important to continue educating ourselves in the business and marketing world since we have no traditional education or experience in those realms. As such, we are grateful for this opportunity!

That wraps up this month, see you in October!

Stay Cool,
Crystal R Mendoza Paulin
ThermApparel Co-founder

Upcoming Events

  • 9/15 Al Sigl’s Fine Tastings
  • 9/22 TEN Boot Camp
  • 9/22 Digital Rochester’s GREAT Awards
  • 9/23 TEN Boot Camp

ThermApparel at Bike MS

ThermApparel at Bike MS

At ThermApparel we’ve had August 27th circled on our calendar for a long time. Bike MS is the largest fundraising bike series in the world, and it embodies everything we are trying to accomplish:  supporting people living with MS to continue their active and healthy lifestyles.

ThermApparel Announced as Finalist for Digital Rochester's GREAT Awards

GREAT Awards 2016 logo.

ThermApparel has been announced as a finalist for Digital Rochester's GREAT Awards. The local non-profit hosts the awards every year to recognize Rochester businesses across different fields. ThermApparel has been nominated for the Student Achievement Award. The winners will be announced at the GREAT Awards Night in September.

To read more about the GREAT Awards, visit here.

ThermApparel Wins Al Sigl Award at Imagine RIT

ThermApparel showcase their results at Imagine RIT.

ThermApparel won the Al Sigl Award from Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Conference at Imagine RIT. We enjoyed the competition and speaking with other students working on accesst technology products. However, we especially enjoyed meeting and speaking with members of the community. The varied population that attends Imagine RIT really inspired us to continue working to improve our products in order to meet their needs. 

ThermApparel at Imagine RIT

Every year, engineers present their Senior Design projects at Imagine RIT. Several of ThermApparel's engineers worked on our products as their Senior Design project. Thus, ThermApparel will be exhibited at Imagine RIT this year!

Promotional poster for Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Challenge.

In addition to a general exhibition of our product designs, ThermApparel will also be participating in Dr. Destler's Access and Inclusion Technology Challenge. We have been selected as a finalist from among dozens of other student led projects and we are looking forward to the competition. ThermApparel will be exhibiting in the Clark Gym on May 7 for Imagine RIT, we hope to see you there!

ThermApparel Wins 2nd Place at 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference

ThermApparel team and friends pose for photo at the Effective Access Technology Conference.

ThermApparel team and friends pose for photo at the Effective Access Technology Conference.

Yesterday ThermApparel won 2nd place in the Innovative Access Technology Product Competition at the 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference. The team presented their product designs before a panel of judges composed of community and business leaders with experience in the access technology field. We're pleased with the result and looking forward to future competitions.

ThermApparel to Attend 2015 Effective Access Technology Conference

Rochester Institute of Technology

ThermApparel has been selected as a finalist for the Innovative Access Technology Product Competition for this year's Effective Access Technology Conference. The annual conference is held at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This year the conference features an Innovative Access Technology Product Competition sponsored by Paradigm Environmental Services Inc. with the intention of promoting and advancing early stage effective access technology products. ThermApparel has been selected as one of five semi-finalists for the competition. Join us for the conference to see our products!