Simon Reeve joins some of the UK's leading designers and engineers as they attempt to build ingenious solutions to help children in need.
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Hundreds of thousands of children across the UK
struggle with the simplest tasks,
hampered by their health or the environment around them.
I've never played with my friends out here.
So, race it, then. Race the car. Good girl!
With no obvious solutions to their problems,
there's often nowhere to turn for help.
In this programme, we've brought together eight
of the UK's leading engineers, designers and computer programmers.
Our team will get to know four children
facing very different challenges.
They'll use cutting-edge science and technology
to build life-changing solutions for Children In Need.
They'll help a young lad who's blind.
Something that could help him
be able to navigate his environment with more confidence.
They'll attempt to help a girl who suffered a severe brain injury.
I would like to become more independent
and remember what happened.
And they'll try to bring together twin sisters
whose lives have been divided by disability.
She's literally trapped in her own body.
If they get this right,
they could potentially change the lives of not just those children,
but thousands more like them across the UK.
I don't know how reliable it's going to be.
This is the only one of its kind in the world.
The code is killing me.
-I'm just, I'm shocked.
This is Big Life Fix: Children In Need Special!
Our team's base is in East London.
Known as a maker space,
it's one of a national network of inventors' hubs
crammed full of the latest technology.
It's from here that our leading inventors
will attempt to create fixes
for people who don't know where else to turn.
It's great because I think you have the opportunity
to really change people's lives.
The team include a director from Microsoft,
engineers who trained at Dyson,
award-winning designers who have built everything from ambulances
to smart cities.
This has to be really good.
There's, like, so much that can go wrong!
Our first assignment is led by senior design strategist Ruby Steele
and engineer Jude Pullen.
Jude is an expert in technology and children's play.
Ruby specialises in finding solutions for people
with chronic health issues.
She'll make the first research visit.
We're in Blackheath in south-east London,
and we're on our way to meet Josh,
who is eight years old and has Norrie disease,
and was born completely, totally blind.
Josh attends his local mainstream school
as there aren't specialist blind centres nearby.
He needs Ruby and Jude to help him find a way
to join his friends in the playground.
Today, he's at home with his mum, Wendy.
-Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Ruby.
-Pleased to meet you.
So, you've got Simon in front of you, and Ruby.
We'll make ourselves comfortable
and maybe you could show us some of the things that you love.
I like pop, hip-hop, rap, Pokemon Go, shopping and Jack 2.
I like indie music.
And kind of like rock kind of music.
Yeah, Mum likes that.
-Would you like a cup of tea?
-Absolutely love one, thanks.
-We can go outside first.
-We can go outside.
-It's a nice garden.
-Do you like being outside, Josh?
Norrie disease is a rare genetic eye disorder.
It causes the retina to develop abnormally
and can lead to blindness.
What's this rope thing?
And he's done!
-Are you looking for a wall?
-No, it's hard.
It's hard. All right.
You going to go and have a look at the trampoline?
-I think so.
-There we go.
-No, it's soaking.
-See if you can...
-You've got to do...!
See if you can ping Ruby off.
-You want to stay out here and have a chat with Josh?
-Yeah, I'd love to.
You've got quite a lad there, haven't you?
Yes, there is never a dull moment.
Tell us about Norrie disease.
When Josh was born, we were told it was probably one in 12 million...
-One in 12 million?
-Yeah, it's really rare.
So, what's then, the issue about playtime?
It's trying to identify where people are and what games are they playing.
It's really hard to know what games you're playing!
And to join in if you can't see where they are
or what they're doing.
How many friends do you have?
-A gazillion friends?
What's your favourite class?
My favourite class is playtime.
My class always goes outside but the playground's too big.
-It's too big?
-And I can't find my friends.
What are you hoping for?
Well, I think, for Josh,
if there was something that could help him
be able to navigate his environment with more confidence,
more ease, you know,
it would mean that Josh could be included more in social settings,
be able to join in more,
something that would help him and his friends bond,
games for him and his friends to play.
He's physically not very confident.
-And that's completely understandable,
and hardly surprising, given...
..this incredible situation and condition that he's got.
To understand the challenges Josh faces,
Ruby and I are paying a visit to his school.
In the classroom, Josh is helped by learning support assistant Shane.
-So far, so good with the enter key!
At break time, Josh needs Shane's help getting to the playground.
Can I come and join you?
When you hear the noise of all the children running around,
does it feel appealing or threatening?
Would you like to be playing and taking part with them
or do you think it's, or do you think you could get hurt?
I could get hurt.
And have you tried?
-Have you ever tried and got hurt?
What happened to you?
I got a graze all the way up my leg,
which was the first day in year three, so since,
I've never played with my friends out here since.
What if I say to you that getting hurt is part of play?
-Yeah, I get...
I got hurt all the time when I was playing, when I was your age.
Did you ever cry and play?
Oh, yeah! Sometimes I nearly cry now.
You don't ever stop wanting to cry.
You just sometimes maybe, as you get older, you can handle it better.
And there is a lot of activity and running around,
and I know that you would love to be doing that with them.
I'm feeling kind of nervous now because this is
a lot more complicated than I thought it was going to be.
I was imagining one open space with children in it but it's at an angle.
-The floor is an angle. It's uneven.
And you're an adult and you were given space by the other kids.
Josh isn't afforded that space
because he's just one of them, so they'll just pile past him.
To imagine him missing out on things that children should be doing,
like being outside and running around,
it's sad to think that Josh isn't able to do that.
Back at the inventors hub,
we discuss just how difficult Josh's fix could be.
We are dealing with, with a lot, and you kind of, erm...
-Of moving objects, yeah.
-A lot of moving objects.
A lot of kind of hazards.
Are we trying to bring an experience
where he can interact with everyone else?
Or is it about them interacting with him?
Or is it about creating a bridge between the two?
Ultimately, this seems to me that it's really much about inclusion.
-We are designing a play experience for all of them.
That puts them all on an equal footing.
-Socialising with his friends.
-We're not trying to fix Josh.
-We're trying to fix play.
I like what you did there, but I'd take it this way...
Ruby and Jude begin brainstorming different ideas.
They think they've found a solution
that could help Josh in the playground,
and want to use a combination of Bluetooth
and GPS tracking technology,
similar to satellite navigation used in cars.
Six weeks after her first visit,
Ruby's heading back to his school with Jude
and software engineer Akram Hussain.
I'll do, like, that tree and then maybe by the blue house.
I think this is going to be really interesting.
We've got these little beacons which work with Bluetooth.
And hopefully, Akram has designed us a basic app,
so we can work out whether Josh could navigate
around between the beacons.
They're hoping satellite technology can help Josh receive instructions
to tell him exactly where he is and what's around him.
So, let's imagine we want to go to the blue hut.
Turn left, 19 degrees and walk for 18 metres.
Blue hut. You are now at the blue hut.
-Ah, OK! So, it's here.
That's how far? Oh, OK. That's not bad.
So let's try it from that side.
Yeah, let's come up from the other way.
-There we go. Pick it up.
-You are now at the blue hut.
Ah, OK, that's quite far away.
But the signal is nowhere near as accurate as they'd hoped.
We'll just remind ourselves that GPS is using a satellite.
-In outer space.
-And we're covered here.
Which... Is it the trees?
-It is possible that there are...
-Because there's a lot of trees here.
-I know that doesn't help.
-I know tall buildings, trees.
One of the problems is going to be, if we don't get that down,
-he's going to get wildly off course.
He's not even going to be at the next beacon
before he starts to go to the next beacon.
We have to be really careful because a lot of this
is about building Josh's confidence and encouraging him to do it.
You know, he already doesn't know where he is
and by giving him false information,
we're making him more lost, so we're making a lost person more lost.
For Ruby and Jude, it's back to the drawing board.
Leading the next fix is Haiyan Zhang,
a technologist and designer
who's worked for high-profile companies all over the world.
She's currently innovation director at Microsoft.
Haiyan and I are heading to Birmingham to see if she can help
a ten-year-old girl who has brain damage
and is struggling with severe memory loss.
And I don't quite remember that one.
-You don't remember?
-I don't remember that.
-Do you remember where we went to eat?
We're going to see Aman, and she had a horrific car accident,
which means she has tremors down one side of her body but also,
she suffers from memory loss.
I can't imagine what it must be like to be so young,
and you just can't remember where you are, how you got there.
The world must be such a scary place.
We're arriving early to catch Aman at home with mum Rupinder
before she heads to school.
Hello. Lovely to see you.
Nice dressing gown. In for breakfast.
Would you like a tea, coffee?
-Oh, I'd love a tea.
-All right, you go and get ready.
-We're out of the way.
You've got a beautiful, lovely daughter.
Can we talk about the accident?
We were involved in a car accident, two and half years ago, in India.
We went for a family wedding.
-What do you remember?
Well, the actual accident happening, nothing, none of us remember that.
We just literally remember waking up in hospital.
And then when we were told about Aman, they kind of just said,
"She's not going to make it,"
so she got flown over by air ambulance
and went straight to Birmingham Children's.
Everything was, was baby steps.
She literally had to learn how to eat again, how to talk, how to walk.
-Erm, it was almost like having a newborn baby,
because it was the left side of the brain that was damaged.
People with an acquired brain injury
often have problems with short-term memory.
For children, this is particularly challenging.
It can make it difficult for them to make new friends,
maintain relationships and has the potential
to lead to anxiety or depression.
How worried about her are you?
I, I think for her long-term future, yes, I'm worried.
I mean, at the minute, I pretty much do everything for her.
But things like going to secondary school, getting a job,
you need a degree of memory, even for the most simplest jobs.
-She's quite worried about that herself.
-We are running late, aren't we?
And just to understand in terms of your memory,
do you remember us arriving?
-Do you remember what...?
-I, I remember, like, waking up.
But then I, like, don't remember what I did after that.
And does it just feel like a bit of a blank in your mind?
It just, like, yeah, but it makes me feel, like,
dizzy when I don't know what...happens, and it's just, like,
I feel, like, really dizzy sometimes.
It's making me a bit upset.
Haiyan and I are heading to Aman's school to see how her memory
is affecting her education.
It's memories, but it's... Sort of more than that, isn't it?
-Yeah, yeah, exactly.
-It's the very essence of...
Of us, is to have that structure, that, those marker points
through your family life, through your time with your friends,
through your time at school.
Hello. Morning! Hello!
Before the accident, Aman was doing well at school.
Now, she can struggle in class
and needs the help of a full-time teaching assistant.
I want you to look through that last pass that you've done
and I want you to find five words in the dictionary.
I want you to find the definition of them and then,
I want you to write them out in a sentence.
So, Miss Powell gave us three instructions,
so you've done the first two.
What was the third instruction? Can you remember?
-It was to write a sentence with the word "nymph" in it.
She's really struggling with her memory
-and what the instructions are.
What problems does Aman face in class?
If we're studying, perhaps a piece of writing,
she will have to recap it quite a few times
in order to get back on track,
so if she's perhaps writing a recount of something,
going on trips and things like that,
-she won't actually remember the trip fully.
Do you see frustration coming out of her as a result?
I think, yes, quite a lot, because she's,
she's very, very bright and she wants to get a lot of work done.
She wants to work really hard
and I think she doesn't necessarily like to rely on somebody
to remind her all the time.
-I think the hall's empty, Aman.
-What, what was said there?
-Is she, she wants to...?
-She just goes for a little break,
so sometimes, either she gets quite uncomfortable
sat still or sometimes, kind of like, the information overload.
Can we talk?
Why did you go out of the class?
Er, because I felt a bit dizzy, so I felt like I needed a walk to, like,
take myself away and go a little quiet break.
So, with Aman, it is, it is heartbreaking.
I think we need two fixes.
One, to help her in the classroom,
so that she's not falling behind the rest of the class.
And one to help her with her family memories,
so that she can just remember her childhood.
But you know, brain injury is really complex,
and I think it's going to be a tough one.
Ruby and Jude are still working on a way to help eight-year-old Josh
gain the confidence he needs
to join his friends in the school playground.
While Ruby's crossing the street one morning, inspiration strikes.
So, I've been thinking a lot about this guidance paving.
Wouldn't it be cool if it did more than just indicate underfoot?
What if it had a sound attached to it with more information?
This is called tactile paving.
It helps the visually impaired move around independently
in public spaces, like at road crossings
and the edge of train platforms.
Ruby begins to plan a design of tactile paving that makes sounds.
She's enlisted the help of technology expert Ross Atkins.
So this, erm, touch board turns touch into sound.
So, if I connect it up with a wire to something conductive,
when I touch it, it makes a sound.
This is similar technology to the touch-screen on mobile phones.
But instead of using fingers, they're going to use feet.
This board can detect when part of your body is, er,
touching or very close to something that's connected to it.
And so, when you put your foot near the tinfoil,
the board knows that you've done that and it plays a sound.
Ruby and Ross enlist the help of the Winchester GoalBall Club
to test their prototype.
So, goalball started just after the Second World War,
as a rehab sport for, erm, soldiers who lost their sight during the war,
so it was their support, to help them get back to,
to fitness, I guess.
So, everyone is visually impaired or blind.
The blindfold makes everyone even. Yes, much better!
It's a brilliant game.
Goalball players compete in teams of three
to throw a ball with a bell in it into the opponent's goal.
It's now a Paralympic sport, with clubs all over the UK,
bringing together and supporting
hundreds of blind and visually impaired players.
Winchester Goalball is just one of many brilliant projects supported by
Children In Need, and you can help give children across the country
similar opportunities by sending a text now.
Right, thank you so much for agreeing to test this stuff out.
Visually impaired members of the goalball club
will help Ruby and Ross discover if they're on the right road
to finding a fix for Josh.
What we've got here are kind of really, really quick, early ideas.
-And who wants to go first?
-I will, I'll go first.
I would like you... Actually, yeah, I forgot an important thing.
Shoes off, if you guys don't mind. Shades on, shoes off.
So, if you take a couple of steps forward...
Can you feel you're standing on something different?
If you want to push your foot along one of the lines.
Now we're going to get onto the exciting bit.
-Oh, my God!
-Go for it. Paddy.
-You have to work as a team.
Ruby and Ross also want to test another idea.
They've programmed the tiles to give directions
when someone stands on them.
Towards Pudsey Bear.
-Found him. Nice job.
Wicked. And do you want to go back and choose a different one?
Towards the door.
And then, do you want to go back again?
Towards the door.
-See, that's interesting because that is not towards the door!
Well, the only problem is, is when you come back the opposite way,
it's going to kind of trigger.
He would think he's over there, but actually, he's here.
It would kind of mess him up.
If he's standing on this one and someone else stands on that one...
..which way is he going?
It's true that he'll still be able to hear when
-someone else stands on the other one.
-Yeah, but I mean...
If someone else stands on it before he does, he's like,
"Oh, I'm going towards the crash... Oh, no, maybe I'm not."
I don't know how reliable it's going to be. Is it...?
Yeah, I think that's something I'm worried about as well.
The last thing we want to do is make him more disorientated.
The elephant in the room that hasn't come up
because I haven't even, like, admitted it, is at the moment,
this doesn't work if you're wearing shoes and that's, like, a major
fail for the playground so, like, we have to work out a way
of making it work when you're wearing shoes.
It's... It feels very vulnerable.
It feels like there's a big challenge
to get it to work in the playground.
Now the team must try to get their playground paving system
to work with shoes, and stop it sending Josh in the wrong direction.
Meanwhile, Ross travels to Hertfordshire
to begin the third and final assignment.
-Hello, you must be Nicole.
-Yeah, nice to meet you.
He's here to see single mum Nicole and her eight-year-old twins.
Do we have a measuring cup?
-Oh, yes, here!
Ayala and Kyra were born 15 weeks premature.
They both had bleeds to the brain and holes in their hearts.
-And we need to be sensible.
Kyra recovered, apart from a problem with her vocal cords.
Today, we are going to make a burger and today,
we've already been starting to make it.
But her sister has severe cerebral palsy.
OK, well, shall we take her outside and then she's got space to walk?
Cerebral palsy affects movement and coordination
and can occur if a baby's brain doesn't develop normally
in the womb or is damaged soon after birth.
In the UK, it affects around one in 400 children.
Can I... Can I go around you?
Ayala's a brainy, wonderful kid.
But her condition's left her with little control of her body.
If you don't mind, can you...
From the beginning, tell me what happened?
I went into hospital at 24 weeks and I had them at 25.
How much did they weigh when they were born?
Erm, Kyra was 850g, so 1lb 14.
And Ayala was 800g, so 1lb 12.
So, so when did you first find out that Ayala had cerebral palsy?
Er, when she was nine months old,
I went for what I thought was just a check-up appointment
at the paediatrician's and, erm,
she told me then that Ayala had cerebral palsy
and that she'd never walk.
I was 21 and I was like, "I don't know what to do with two kids,
"let alone one that's going to have a disability."
I was just scared. I was petrified!
Ayala has to rely on her mother and her sister
to help with simple, everyday tasks,
as she is unable to use her arms independently
and has little control over her hands.
Not being able to walk and not being able to use your hands,
but being so clever, because Ayala is so clever...
I just... I'm just, like, is there a worse combination?
Because she knows exactly what she wants to do
but she just cannot physically do it, so it's, like,
she's literally trapped in her own body
and there's nothing she can do about it.
When she's playing with her sister,
you don't want it to feel like her sister's playing
and she's a spectator.
No, because I mean, like, they are twins and they are,
they do like the same stuff and they are the same age.
And, you know, like, so when they are playing,
and watching Kyra doing one thing but Ayala will want her
to do it another way, and then they end up arguing and, erm...
-It's a really tough position for both of them to be in, right?
-To figure out how to help the twins play together,
Ross wants to know what their dream toy looks like.
All right, we're going to play a game.
We're going... I'm going to draw you the best toy ever and you've got to
tell me what it looks like.
-You want to draw?
-With my mouth.
-She can draw it with her mouth if she wants.
Hey, Ayala's drawed on mine.
It doesn't matter. You'll get a new page.
-What is it?
-A fire engine.
-A fire engine?
Oh, right. Makes a lot of sense.
Talking to Nicole about, um,
about the birth of the twins
and everything that she went through, just,
um, you know, blew my mind, I guess.
I just can't imagine at 21, and coming through it, um,
with that attitude that she has.
I think it's absolutely amazing.
I think our challenge is to create a way for them to play that doesn't
increase the gap between them but reduces the gap between them.
I really hope that we're able to create some things that, um,
do allow her to do the things she wants to do more easily.
Back in London, the team are battling to design a way for Josh
to take part in play time with his friends.
I don't really want to do it when there's so many kids, though.
The team believe tactile paving that plays sound is the solution but so far, it only works without shoes.
They think they've come up with a plan - pressure pads.
When you step on it,
it squishes the black stuff and allows the electricity to flow
and connect the circuit.
They hope that when Josh stands on the paving,
it will trigger sounds to help him navigate the playground.
To avoid confusing him,
they've ditched the idea of verbal directions in favour of simple sounds.
WHISTLING TYPE NOISE
Jude has transformed his home into an electronics factory.
He begins building 30 pressure pads
and designing a surround sound system.
I'm going to chop out a chunk in the wood so that I can reach through
and adjust all the controls.
This is the last pressure-sensitive pad coming off the production line.
While Jude's making progress, Haiyan has a long way to go.
She's trying to come up with an invention to help ten-year-old Aman,
who has memory loss.
How can we provide some kind of technology to help Aman get through class,
be a little more independent and also be able to review that material later?
A simple recording device triggers an idea for something far more ambitious.
Hello. This is Haiyan recording a message.
Hello, this is Haiyan...
So, with the classroom fix for Aman,
what I'm trying to do is just capture the lesson but capture it in a really simple way
so that Aman can bookmark it,
can automatically record notes,
I need to take what Miss Powell was saying and train a artificial
intelligence algorithm to turn it into text.
That's not very easy to do.
"The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colours."
For some reason, the computer's just spewing up random text, but, you know,
in a normal class, if we get three words wrong in a sentence,
Aman's just going to be completely lost.
Haiyan spends weeks painstakingly building software. It needs to
recognise every word in the English language
and decipher the nuances in Aman's teacher's voice.
Two months after her first visit, Haiyan is back at Aman's school,
to show her the prototype.
The idea is that it's a tablet that sits next to you,
so as the teacher is giving the lesson,
you'll see the text of what they're saying appear on screen.
-And when you need to, you can rewind...
If Miss Powell says something, I can just play it back on this?
-Yeah. And then the other thing you can do is we have a bookmarking
button, so if you try it, there, so there you go.
'And then the other thing you can do is in class, if Miss Powell says something...'
But the real test comes at lesson time.
-Oh, this is so nerve-racking!
-What's the plan?
So this is the first time that it's ever been tried out,
so we'll see how it goes.
-In a moment, with your tables,
you are going to come up with at least five things
that are a source of light, so where light originates.
You are going to have about two minutes.
Off you go.
I don't understand how it will handle the challenge of
30 children's voices and the cacophony of it all...
So you know what helps?
Miss Powell's wearing a microphone and it's just recording
OK, so, Aman, can you provide me with a quick reminder of what your task was?
You said that... Um...
Come up with a collection of things that are sources of light.
How many did you have to come up with?
-At least five.
-At least five.
So you had to come up with, with your table,
at least five sources of light.
We have learned that lightning is a light source.
Lightning is a light source.
As the lesson continues, there are clearly problems with Haiyan's prototype.
I can never...
I think they're complaining about the bookmarking system.
Is it causing problems?
I mean, I can already see some challenges with the way that, you know,
we've done the interface, the text is scrolling.
Go on, enjoy break.
But Aman, the key question, really, did you find it useful?
I did, However, it says, like, strange things, like, "white listen carefully."
Yeah, I-I saw..."tie, sun seed."
-I can't imagine what it thought that was.
Like... I know it's only a prototype but, like, in the actual, like,
I would like it more clear.
Obviously, in the prototype, there's a lot of things in the way, you know,
it wasn't working quite right. The transcription's not quite right.
There are too many buttons on the screen.
But can we make it more visual?
Can we take images of what's happening in the class and help remind her of
what's been going on, rather than the text?
So you've got more work to do?
I've got a lot more work to do, yeah.
While Aman's at school, we're going to see her family.
Aman's inability to remember events from her past could be having
a negative impact on her emotional development, but Haiyan has come up with an idea which may help.
-There is research out there that talks about using visual imagery to jog people's memories.
-Hi! I'm Haiyan.
I think as a family, you guys are really focused on photos.
I see a lot of photos around the house.
What we could do is have her family record stories for her.
Haiyan's idea is a personalised interactive photo album,
combining photos with audio recordings, to trigger Aman's memory.
You press the pink button.
This was Hyde Park in London when we went in the Easter holidays.
'This was Hyde Park in London when we went in the Easter holidays.'
Aman will have hours of fun with this.
-Over and over again.
So if she, like, felt a particular emotion,
it would help her try and relive that that, like, obviously,
she's really happy in this photo, where it was, like, anything,
the weather, everything to just bring her back to that place, really.
If she doesn't know anything about this,
we can have a big surprise and reveal it to her. Ooh!
Cooking is under way.
So if we record, "This is when your tooth came out,
"and someone was baby-sitting."
When we were getting changed, that's all you kept saying to me
and you just kept showing your socks off to me as well.
With the plan still a secret, Aman comes back from school.
Haiyan must now take all of the family's messages and finish building her invention.
In Hertfordshire, Ross and I are heading to Ayala's school to observe how she plays with her friends.
Everybody's going to be part of this story so we want everybody in a circle.
Today, they're receiving a visit from the Discover Children's Story Centre,
a charity which works to inspire children's curiosity and imagination.
# One two, pass it on
# One two, pass it on
# One two, pass it on
# Who has got the sandwich? #
And now, because you've got the sandwich, can you hold it up and say, "I have got the sandwich!"
I have got the sandwich.
Well done. Fantastic. Well done!
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Shall we go back down the hall, then we can have lunch?
At school, Ayala's able to navigate the corridors on her own,
driving her wheelchair with buttons on her head rest.
So, this thing spins round.
When it's pointing the direction you want to go, you press the switch?
-Can I have your hand?
-Yeah, of course, Ayala.
-That would be great.
-I'm so impressed by your control of this switch.
Do you know who Lewis Hamilton is?
-Well, you're better than him.
That single switch is a really good way for her to control things, and she can control things that move
very quickly with that switch, and that seems
like a really good model to use for other things that we might make that she's controlling,
and I think, really, that's probably where I think we're going to start with this fix.
So we're about to get on a flight to China.
On a business trip to China,
Ross and Akram come across an army of robots which gives them an idea.
We've got ones that have arms and legs and look like people.
We've got ones that have wheels.
There are ones that walk and ones that roll.
They think it might be possible to operate these robots with the same switches that Ayala uses
to operate her wheelchair.
Back in London, Ross reports back to the team.
The reason I got these robot toys is because Ayala's really good at driving her wheelchair
and so I thought, if she can drive her wheelchair,
then she can drive some other stuff.
Oh, my goodness.
-It's too much.
-This is quite a simple one,
but I've done a quick little app that mimics the way that Ayala's wheelchair control works.
So she's not actually hitting different buttons to go in different directions?
No, she's got one button connected to her, that's by her head, that she touches with her head.
-These are like classic playground games of catch me if you can.
-Hide and seek.
So if you had Ayala, Kyra,
and then they're both
doing things together, chasing each other or psyching each other out,
-It's always really amazing to work with this team.
When they said, "Why don't we do this?" I was like, "Yeah, you're right.
"Why don't we do that?" And that's always really, really helpful and so,
in a way, it's made the fix more difficult,
cos it's raised my level of ambition of what the fix could be.
Ross and Akram start work on a pair of robots.
A fire engine for Ayala and an aeroplane for Kyra,
both built with 3-D printers.
It's going to need 18 metres of filament,
because I'm going to have to run this overnight.
It's a bad sign here.
The filament on the floor is still there.
So it looks like it broke.
Bit of a disappointment. I'm going to start again.
Hey, hey, hey.
I've got a fire engine.
Does it fit on the robot?
Quite nice, I think.
Use a button to control the robot.
If I press the button on forward, the robot goes forward.
If I press it when it's going backwards,
the robot drives backwards.
So look at this, Akram.
Next, they attempt to build another toy,
inspired by Ayala's love of drawing.
What I'm wondering is if we can make this drawing machine
be switch accessible, so we've got a hell of a lot to do.
Ross and Akram have bought a robotic drawing machine, but they need to find a way to modify the software,
so that Ayala can operate it with her head switch.
Looking good, looking good.
It's 1.30am in the morning.
Still quite a lot to do.
Long, long night ahead.
Haiyan has been working flat out for the last three weeks
to finish a design to help Aman record her childhood memories.
It's one o'clock in the morning and I'm up late coding,
writing code for Aman.
I mean, I think it's really lovely but the code is killing me.
She's created a specially designed interactive website in the hope
that photos combined with audio recordings will ignite Aman's memories.
So memory sparks is like a little mini Instagram
that basically I'm having to build from scratch,
and I'm writing code for how that server should process information.
When the photo's uploaded, it's pulling out the metadata that's embedded in the photo.
But that's not all.
Haiyan has also created an app to allow Aman's family
to upload their photos and messages to the website anywhere in the world.
That's the experience that I want to give Aman,
the ability to relive something.
Not just remember it, but relive it.
With Haiyan's bespoke invention ready,
we're heading back to Birmingham to present it to Aman.
Big day, Haiyan.
Oh, my gosh.
-Oh, I'm so nervous.
-The final reveal. Are you?
-You're nervous. What are your other feelings?
I... Just mostly, the pit of my stomach, nervous that stuff will work!
-How are you?
So, I've made something for you.
And I hope you like it.
-If you're ready to burst, it's OK to burst.
I am. I am!
I think it's a box, yeah.
Let's have a look.
In the last few weeks, the whole family's been uploading photos.
Oh! Oh, cool.
But that's not the big deal.
Your family can also record audio memories to remind you about that photo.
-Do you remember these pictures?
-You don't remember the pictures?
-No. I don't remember this.
'So this one's when we were in Cambridge to do some punting.'
-'You were really excited about the day ahead of you.'
I remember now. It's just when we had breakfast.
And then we were waiting in the lobby.
But you didn't remember when you were looking at the picture?
-You didn't remember where that picture was.
-But when you heard...
-What Anisha was saying...
-What Anisha was saying...
-..then I remembered.
-Oh! That's great.
-So, just to be clear, it works.
-Yes, it does.
Haiyan has thought about this,
realises there's nothing else out there like that
and created it for you.
This is the only one of its kind in the world.
-Well done, Haiyan.
Memory Sparks, yeah!
'Probably one of your first times that you've joined in Monopoly.'
I don't remember this.
-'You still have that smile on your face.'
-I remember that.
I remember that!
'That was the night that we were all in the car accident,
'and sometimes I look at this picture and I think,
"Well, had we not gone to this wedding, things would have been a lot different for you.
"I look at your picture and see how happy you are,
'how smiley you are.
'Just how different you were then.
'I remember this hospital room so well,
'being in here every single day during all of December, pretty much,
'just doing really little small things, but for you,
'it was always like it was a massive achievement and such amazing progress that you made.
'It just reminded me of how proud we are of you.
'We have all your friends here, all come together
-'to celebrate your 10th birthday.'
-That was it, yeah.
'And you seemed to have had a lovely time.'
I remember that.
'And this hat that she's wearing as well.'
You feel almost like parts of your memory are going ping, ping,
as you're remembering.
Yeah, I'm remembering, like, just from the pictures,
it expands in my brain to, like,
a whole nother world of what I can remember about that single picture.
When I see you remembering some of those-those stories, it's just...
I'm so happy...it can help you.
It was lovely, lovely getting to know you.
-Thank you so much.
You could see her rebuilding the memory blocks, almost,
using the Memory Sparks.
-It was fantastic.
I just couldn't believe it.
I think, as a human being,
you just get the need to have these memories as part of your sense
-Just that kind of, it's almost like a eureka moment,
when she's just looking at you, and she's like, "I don't remember," and then, like, "I can remember!"
Haiyan is back at Aman's school
along with mum, Rupinder, to unveil her second invention.
It's called Study Sparks and it's a unique teaching tool.
Haiyan has made the live transcription much more accurate and added a video function,
allowing Aman to instantly review any parts of the lesson she's struggling with.
Sit down. You need to write your learning objective and your date in your book.
Aman will be testing it without any help from a teaching assistant.
Indigo and Violet, they're two different shades of purple.
But I want a mnemonic. Can anybody tell me what a mnemonic is?
What light is going to bounce off what part of this kit?
Look back through what I've given you.
And it will tell you.
So where you last bookmarked, Aman,
that's where I started my instruction.
To describe what you can see, natural light.
So without any paper describe what you can see?
Oh, I think she reviewed it back.
-She did. OK.
Aman, what did you think of this?
I liked it.
It made me feel like I could do it on my own.
It's just remembering to listen back to it.
I know I can just bookmark and then listen to what you're saying.
-Do you think you feel better on your own without your teaching assistant nearby?
-Do you feel more confident?
-Yeah, because it feels like this is my teaching assistant.
Oh! How many stars out of ten would you give it?
11. It's amazing.
Really? Oh, my God!
Oh, thank you!
In south-east London, construction work is under way.
The team have committed to a tactile musical pathway in Josh's school playground.
Diggers have begun taking up more than 1,000 square metres of tarmac.
Tiles are coming out and going down.
Look at this!
300 tiles and 30 waterproof speakers will be connected to
two miles of cabling, running underneath the ground.
What is this?
This is one of the hubs.
Whenever you see blister tiles like this,
they are going to be magic sound tiles,
so that when you stand on them,
a sound will come out of one of these speakers.
It's also encouraging games that are using these yellow roads.
If you close your eyes...
I can feel with my feet.
It's amazing, you can feel that these straight lines basically mean go in this direction,
which is why it would be pointless to have them...
-The other way.
-The other way.
It's Braille for the soles of your feet, really.
It's Braille for the soles of your feet.
Josh remains oblivious to the goings-on in the playground, as the plan's still top secret.
-Re-cipes? No, it's recip-ees.
Has this been done before, and is it going to work?
This hasn't been done before and we don't know if it's going to work yet.
The fundamental design should work, but we haven't tested it yet.
It's going to work, Ruby.
Let's have confidence.
Ross has worked through the night,
painstakingly completing his inventions for Ayala and Kyra.
He's created twin robots to enable the girls to play together as equals for the first time.
And it's only quarter to four.
So, Ross, it's a big day.
-How are you feeling?
-I'm feeling quite excited.
I mean, there are a lot of moving parts to this fix and anything
could break. But if it all works, I think it's going to be wicked.
Hello, can we come in?
Kyra, how are you? Three, two, one.
Oh, my goodness!
Actually, inside this fire engine is the robot.
That is so cool.
This is an app that we've made just for you.
If I press the button...
That is genius.
Both girls can operate their robot cars on an app,
with Ayala's connected to the switch she uses to drive her wheelchair.
-Not the bubble, not the bubble!
Look, the girls playing on a level playing field.
Look, you've got the same controls for these incredible robots.
Ross has one more surprise for the twins.
This is a robot drawing machine,
and it's controlled by another app
on your device, and Akram and I worked really hard on it
and I'm really pleased with it.
I hope you both like it.
Well done, Ross.
OK, yeah. Press it.
Oh, my God.
Right, and the yellow switch should be pen up and pen down.
Do you want to try?
Wow! That is quite something, Ross. What do you think?
That is absolutely incredible!
Red switch, red switch, Ayala.
As well as giving her the ability to draw her own pictures,
Ross has pre-programmed some designs especially for Ayala.
And now it's drawing a star.
-It's spelling my name.
A, Y, A, L, A.
You're drawing your name, you're signing your name.
Oh, my God!
Look at that! That is brilliant.
Isn't that a lovely moment?
-Just going to savour this.
Two of them playing together.
So Ayala got stuck.
She hasn't called me to come and help her.
And Kyra just went over and said, "What's wrong", and now, she's...
Working it out themselves.
I'm just in shock.
It's a big change.
It's been really, really, really fun.
Ross, Ross. I want to give you a hug as well, mate.
I know how hard you've worked.
Right, where are we going? I can see Ruby and Jude.
Six months after they first visited the school,
Jude and Ruby are ready to reveal their new playground to Josh and his mum and dad.
Hi, Josh. How are you doing?
Do you want to take the first step?
Yeah, shall we go and have a look?
Something looks incredible, but I'm not quite sure what it is.
Ruby and Jude's invention is a series of tactile musical paths,
giving Josh more fun and more freedom in the playground.
Oh, my goodness!
That's amazing, Josh.
Shall we go and have a bit of an explore?
Yeah. Are you ready?
-What have they done?
-What have we done?
-What have they done?
So we're going to go over here to the starting point and we're going to show you, so...
When you feel one of those blisters under your feet, a sound comes out.
You're doing that. You're doing that with your feet.
This is amazing!
Oh, you did it, Josh!
Oh, you're doing so well, Josh.
At the beginning of every road is a sound and at the end of every road is the same sound.
If you ever stray off one of the lines,
you just find one again and you follow it until you get to a sound tile and you jump up and down,
and then you know exactly where you are, cos they're always in the same place.
This is what it was all about, yeah.
What's your favourite sound, Josh?
-I like them all.
-You like them all!
-Can you try and get to the end of that road, Josh?
And turn a little bit to your left.
-Turn, turn, turn. That's it. Yeah.
And jump. Yeah!
He's on his own. He's doing it without us.
I think he loves it.
Keep going, Josh.
What do you think, Josh?
What animal is it?
But what will Josh's friends make of the new playground?
It's chaos. It's wonderful chaos.
When I first met him, I just...
You just constantly want to be like holding on to him to make sure nothing bad happens
but when he's in this space, he's just like any other kid.
He's playing like his friends.
He's playing with his friends.
You've smashed it.
Three, two, one, go!
It's exceeded all my expectations.
-We talked six months ago in the garden, how do you do it,
where do you start and you've done it and over and over and over.
One, two, three, four!
Simon Reeve follows some of the UK's leading designers and engineers as they attempt to help three children with disabilities.
Eight-year-old Josh from London has a rare condition called norrie disease. As a result, he was born blind. Can the team of designers and engineers find a way for Josh to play with the other kids in the playground?
Eight-year-old twins Ayala and Caira were born prematurely at 25 weeks, with severe bleeds on the brain and holes in their hearts. Caira developed into a non-disabled child with vocal cord paralysis, and Ayala has cerebral palsy. Often Ayala has to sit and watch her twin do the things she'd love to do herself. Can the team find a way for the girls to play together?
Three years ago ten-year-old Aman was left with severe brain damage after she was involved in a serious road accident. Can the team come up with a technological aid which will allow Aman to recall her childhood events as well as help her at school?