"A Communication Device" - SUCCESS STORY #3

Header Image
CC BY 4.0 DOIT, http://DOIT-Europe.Net, H2020–770063 Photo by Jen Smilg












A teenage boy, who invented a communication device for his friend, asks everyone a simple question: “Have you ever noticed that some of the things that make you happy are incredibly simple?” The point of this question is revealed later in this story, so get comfortable and begin to read an amazing story about how friendship and devotion can make a miracle.

CC BY 4.0 DOIT, http://DOIT-Europe.Net, H2020–770063 Photo by Jen Smilg

In 2013, Jacob’s friend, a 15-year-old boy Ethan Kadish, was struck by lightning during an ultimate Frisbee game along with two other campers. The lightning almost killed a boy, though he is slowly recovering, the injury made him unable to walk, eat, talk or go to the bathroom by himself.

This is where Jacob Smilg, a boy, who was then only 14 years old, came in. He was very touched by his friend’s misfortune and wanted to help him somehow. He learned that Ethan can blink his eyes as a response to yes or no questions and still had control over his head. And there Jacob’s idea was born: at first, the boy thought about creating a simplified keyboard, but it would have taken too much effort for Ethan to type words, even the simple ones. Eventually he improved his idea and created a similar device but just with “yes” or “no” possible responses. This communication device has two buttons, with “yes” or “no” options, which could be selected by pressing one of these by the head. With his device, Ethan can now easily communicate and make real conversations, which makes him overjoyed.

CC BY 4.0 DOIT, http://DOIT-Europe.Net, H2020–770063 Photo by Jen Smilg

Jacob himself describes his invention as a simple and not complex device at all. According to him, the technology he used, Arduino, is accessible, so anybody can get and use it. The body of this device was printed by the 3D printer and this is also a proof of how technologies can help to make an impact. So this communication device is described as simpler as it first seems and this is the answer to the previous question — the most significant and beautiful things are truly incredibly simple, especially when it comes to friendship and devotion to another person.

Stories like this face us to the reality. We see challenges and “missions impossible” when children at the same time know the simplest solution ever. The old true saying “children — our future” must become the credo and direction to go.


The story is now available on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/doit-europe/a-communication-device