Nate Hanson’s 8-year-old daughter, Whitney, has an iPhone 3GS. But she doesn’t use it to call her friends or play video games, as you might expect. Rather, for Whitney, the iPhone is an assistive communication device. Whitney has a rare genetic disorder, 1p36 deletion syndrome, which Nate says is “geneticist jargon for missing the tip of her first chromosome.” The syndrome gives her difficulty both hearing and speaking. So she uses an app called Proloquo2Go that lets her touch pictures to have the phone speak words and phrases to people around her. Nate talks a little bit more about Whitney’s experiences with the software (including a video) on his blog here.
So what does this have to do with repair? Whitney’s iPhone’s battery began to dwindle recently, until it held only 45 minutes of charge. Since she uses the phone to communicate with bus drivers, teachers, and classmates all day at school, 45 minutes of battery life was not nearly enough. Otherwise, though, the phone worked just fine. “Rather than purchase a new device,” Nate explains in a story, “I decided to put a new battery in her tough old friend of a phone.”
Although the screws and connectors were tiny (Nate says, “The magnetized tip on the #00 screwdriver was a lifesaver”), 45 minutes later, the iPhone had a new battery. Nate is enthusiastic about technology—he designs software for dome theaters and planetariums with Evans & Sutherland Digital Theater, and he’s built PCs. But he claims not to be a repair guru and has never worked on anything this small before. Nonetheless, he got it done.
Whitney now has her voice back, thanks to her repair-savvy dad.