STORIES

STORIES2024-01-19T14:28:50-06:00

Head-Activated Switch Headrest Mount

1.1 Switch mount

An IATP Speech-Language Pathologist submitted a referral to Makers on behalf of an IATP customer she had provided with an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) evaluation. The customer requires the use of a head-activated switch to navigate her device. Our SLP noticed that the swing-away switch mounts on both sides of the wheelchair headrest were bulky and appeared unsafe for the client’s younger children, causing a high risk of pinching fingers. The swing-away mounts also cause wear and tear on the headrest cover.

The Makers team fabricated two symmetrical mounts that clip onto the side of the headrest, including Velcro attachments to hold the switches when activated via lateral sides of the individual’s head. Both mounts were printed in under two hours. This simplified solution is safer and more convenient than wheelchair mounts she previously used.

Noah – Adaptive Switch Mount

Noah using switch

Noah is a young boy who is learning play skills by using an adaptive switch to power toys on and off. His therapist reached out to IATP’s Makers program to assist with designing and fabricating a switch mount that would help him be more independent. Noah was only able to activate the switch with the help of someone holding it up in front of him due to the limited range of motion in his arms. Other mounting alternatives were considered, but the degree of angle required for Noah would not work with the available switch mounts.

The Makers Team designed a switch mount that will accommodate his range of motion and degree of angle. The switch mount can be repositioned to other tray surfaces Noah uses. With the help of theMakers Team and 3D-printing, Noah can now activate his preferred toys independently from either his Rifton chair or adapted stroller.

Adaptive Chef Knife

Adaptive knife on cutting board with sliced limes

Limited options are available for a chef with arthritis to continue cutting safely and comfortably. Most commonly available knives with adaptive handles have neither quality blades or handles strong enough for repetitive usage, nor were they designed for food preparation and cooking related tasks.

The design team developed and tested multiple prototypes and was able to create a knife that specifically meets the client’s needs. The result is a strong, high-quality adaptive chef’s knife that can be easily reproduced for others with similar needs. 

The handle is placed along the back of the knife blade to allow forearm leverage as opposed to using the wrist. A wider handle is added to the blade to accommodate those needing wider grips. 

The body of the handle uses a tessellated PLA form to reduce the amount of resin necessary as well as to add structural stability to the handle.

The use of resin over a 3D-form creates a clean, non-porous surface that will last as long as the blade.

Tactile Bicycle Trails Map

ECVI Tactile Bike Map

The Educational Center for the Visually Impaired (ECVI) partnered with the YMCA of Springfield, IL to create the Tandem Bicycle Project. The program provides an opportunity for those with low vision or blindness  to reserve and borrow tandem bicycles at no cost. Participants can now ride Springfield’s bicycle trails with friends and family. You can learn more about the project on the ECVI website Tandem Bike Project.

ECVI reached out to IATP requesting a 3D-printed tactile map of the bicycle trails to provide users with trail information including the location of intersecting roads and certain pitstops. The Ride Illinois program granted permission to the IATP Maker program to adapt their bicycle map. Pictured is one of the early prototypes. The final design was larger and provides a key for symbols, and coating with resin to withstand outdoor temperatures and durability. 

Inhaler Adapter with Universal Stand

Inhaler AdapterThe purpose of this project was to enhance the independence of an individual with functional limitations due to differences in her upper arm and hand. Before this adaptation, the individual was given maximal assistance to use her inhaler due to her lack of strength and ability to simultaneously steady the canister, push down, and activate the medication. With this unique, fabricated device, the individual can now independently self-administer her medication.
The device consists of a removable, molded grip and velcro attachment to hold the canister in place, positioned snugly in a tripod stand. The stand is held in place by a micro-suction tape on the bottom that can be reused across different surfaces. This design was printed in Nylon Carbon Fiber for maximal strength and durability.

Michael – Wheelchair Cup Holder

Michael K Cup HolderThis device was individually fabricated for Michael, a Permobil F3 wheelchair user who also drives, and was seeking an alternative solution to carrying 16oz bottles along. Currently, there are no devices readily available that mechanically and easily slide in and out under his armrest and can also collapse to accommodate the tight space between inside his van and the wheelchair when Michael is driving. This device was printed using a universal style cup holder, Nylon Carbon Fiber for durability, and a flexible, plastic material that provides the ability to collapse when not in use.

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