Last night I was in a bad car wreck. My car was completely totaled. But the scary part of it was a 2 by 4 crashed through my windshield, grazed across the left side of my head, and then flew into my backseat. If that board hit me ½ an inch to the right, I wouldn’t be here right now. I was ½ an inch away from dying. This has caused me to reflect on my life up until this point. I feel that I haven’t spent enough time with my friends and family, and that all I need to do is spend more time with the people I care about. For the most part I’ve been upset with school. I spend my time bored in a classroom, daydreaming of being able to see foreign cities, taste new foods, or simply lie down in a field. I was upset because I could have spent my time doing just that. But there’s something I don’t regret, and that’s making this project. A project that I’ll probably never forget, Blow Boats.
Blow Boats is an interactive game for kids with cerebral palsy that helps with physical therapy and doubles as a piece of the garden when not in use. It was made because the McMains center was looking for new games for their kids to play, and we noticed one of them, A man named Andrew, had a passion for boats. I don’t regret spending my time working on this project because I know it could bring a little joy to people like Andrew, and because I had the pleasure of working on this project with Jack Morganti. Jack and I have had our fair share of differences, but I feel that being partnered with him taught me somethings about myself. Now most of our differences were opinions about the design.
Originally we had a track that was going to be something you could move around and keep indoors. Now we had changed it, adding a garden to it, so that even while it’s not in use it’s adding to the atmosphere. Our track now has a lane running down each side with the garden in the middle. We have 3D printed boats that can be pushed along the water by fans that are workable for people with CP. These fans were made with a button that extrudes from the top, so that they would be easier to turn on. These fans also are attached to a ball joint that is attached to a clamp, so that one could attach it to their wheelchair or walker and maneuver them easier. The Boats were made wide with a heavy bottom, so that they could hold a larger sail which would catch more wind. The track we had made of aluminum. Metal is perfect for this track and aluminum is the most heat resistant metal we could get our hands on. This was a rewarding experience not only because I got to work on something that would help my community, but also because I had the privilege of working through a creative process with an interesting partner.
Kids Mist: A tool that allows kids with CP to engage in more water activities outside.
The initial goal for the project was being able to provide a method for kids with CP to water plants in that garden at McMains. The original design was a irrigation system based on a system of over hanging tubes that sprayed water in different sections of the garden. While the initial idea was good, it was to complex for the scope of this class, and also ran into logistical issues, such as being able to hang tubes from an overhead structure, and running pipes along the ground. The original idea behind this prototype was then taken and designed into something more portable. This final project is a portable water cannon turret with a modular and removable water reservoir solution to allow full motion and ultimate portability.
The goal for the water cannon turret is to allow kids with CP participate in water games with other friends and family. It allows them full range of motion, portability with their wheel chairs, and control system adaptability for each individual student.
DRAwER: An assistive robotic arm for those with Cerebral Palsy (CP). This project aids with opening drawers and cabinets to allow those with CP to be more independent and take on a larger role helping others around the house.
The DRAwER project idea was conceived after visiting McMains Children’s Developmental Center and seeing a 15-year-old boy named Andrew, who has Cerebral Palsy, practicing everyday functions (making himself a snack, brushing his teeth, etc.) that are taken for granted by otherwise healthy people. This observation of Andrew training to be more independent spurred the idea of other challenges he may face doing basic chores/functions. One major challenge was the difficulty of opening a drawer for someone, like Andrew, with Cerebral Palsy. This is a basic task for those without CP, but for those with it, it could be a daunting and an almost impossible one. So, this gave way to the idea of how can the task of opening a drawer could also help someone with CP become a more integral part in their family’s daily chores and tasks. The DRAwER project makes the task of opening a drawer easier for people with CP by allowing them to control an arm that is more dexterous, strong, and maneuverable than their own.
The design of the DRAwER project changed greatly over several different models, all vastly different from each other, but all with the same goal in mind. The design of the DRAwER revolved around reaching varying heights of drawers and having the structural integrity to open them. The first design ideas consisted of a jointed arm and a vertical track with an arm that moved up and down. The jointed arm proved to be the better design. Eventually several prototypes were made and improvements to the design followed. The initial idea was to have a suction cup that would attach to the front of the drawer to allow the arm to open it. This idea arose to avoid the complications of creating a claw that would attach to every different type of handle. The first prototype was constructed out of straws and featured a suction cup at the end. Then, a cardboard prototype was constructed of the arm, featuring “U” shaped pieces/brackets that would form the arm structure. After further refining of the design, a wooden prototype was constructed using threaded rods to keep it together and provide structural support. Then the decision was made to drop the suction cup idea in favor for a claw-like device or “hook,” as the suction cup design proved to be too complicated. It was then, after much work on this design and many complications that followed, that another, better design was introduced.
This design featured a main arm that would rotate on an axle which would move forwards and backwards. This, in turn, would cause the main arm to slide along a support arm that would be in the front center of the chassis, moving main arm up and down. This design was initially sketched, and the first prototype was made using straws, popsicle sticks, and brads. Then a better prototype was constructed using cardboard pieces to construct the base. Using this information as a result of trial and error, and many measurements, a final iteration was designed and constructed using laser-cut wooden pieces designed in Rhino. The final iteration consists of a wooden base structure, secured with braces, with a track system in which bearings run along where a metal rod is used as the axle. The arms are constructed out of laser-cut wooden pieces as well, and rotate around the metal rod. The support arm is constructed using wood and secured using metal braces. It features a metal rod at the top to allow the two arms to run along it with bearings, doubling as another set of tracks. This final iteration was the result of many months of trial and error. Although not entirely completed, the final iteration of the DRAwER project paved the path for what could come about in the future and it sets a precedent in aiding those with CP to perform functions such as opening a drawer.
Geaux Throw allows children with CP or other development disabilities to participate in playing catch, whether it be with friends or a pet.
We first got the idea for this project when we first went to McMains and noticed how all of their toys were meant for younger kids, not really for teenagers. We began to think of thinks that we enjoyed doing that children with disabilities may not be able to do. The Geaux Throw is a device that gives children with developmental disabilities to live a more normal life and participate in sports with their friends and or pets. By the push of a button, a gear and spring allows the throwing arm to launch the ball to another person or an open field.
To construct our project we used tetrix metal, gears, a DC motor, polycarbonate, and rivets. The throwing arm uses a tennis ball thrower that you would use to play fetch with a dog. Our gear is a choo-choo design which is powered by a spring that creates the perfect release. To protect hand and fingers from getting caught in the gear, we built a poly-carb enclosure which is held together by 3D printed joints. Our button is connected to a battery and the motor, which allows the children to easily activate the throwing arm. This will help better society by giving children with disabilities to get more involved and be able to do things people who don’t have disabilities can do. This will cause a spark in their life that they will never forget and make them feel like they are on top of the world. We can’t wait to see the children at McMains put our project to use and see the impact we have made in their lives.
Description: Dogger is designed as a fun game for kids with limited motion. Because it is so simply designed, anyone can play and enjoy it.
Kids Mist: A tool that allows kids with CP to engage in more water activities outside.
The project first started with the idea of helping kids with CP water plants in their garden. The first idea was an irrigation system that would allow the kids to automatically water the plants with a press of a button. However, a few problems we ran into included the danger of using electricity near water and they also wanted it to be more interactive. So we came up with an idea of a water gun that would fit on the side of the chair. This idea sounded well because it was easy to use and enabled the kids to interact with their environment. It took us a while to come up with a final product and that was because we tested every idea we came up with. It took a while to learn Fusion 360 which was used for prototyping.
Our hope is that this game will allow kids with CP to play around with their friends and family. This product allows kids to pull water from a water bottle that will be close by them and shoot it out of a cannon. It exists for the sole purpose of helping kids engage outside and have more recreational options. This was made by designing each part in a 3D modelling software and using a 3D printer. Electronics were used to create the button and help the cannon function. Kids Mist will help kids with CP bond with friends and family and, most importantly, have fun.
December 14, 2017
At the beginning of the year, we met the kids at the mcmains center that were diagnosed with cerebral palsy. When diagnosed you may not have the ability to throw and catch a ball with their friends, peers, and family. To fix that we decided to design a ball throwing/catapult device that will allow them to have the same feeling as if they were throwing it themselves.
On the first day we began to brainstorm what our ball device might look like and what we can use to make it. We brainstormed and came up with a device that will sort of looks like ladder golf. We thought this was the best solution so far because it is the best way for the ball to be thrown at a soft and slow rate. After we started constructing two types of prototypes in two different styles. The first was our ball throwing device to mimic ladder golf. The second was a more complex device that throws it much farther. It consist of a spring and a latch that you can adjust to throw farther and slower which was inspired by a pitching machine. We drifted away from our first prototype and decided to go with the one similar to a pitching machine. Our next steps was to begin making it out of cardboard and coming up with solutions that would make it more stable and functional. Next we planned on using on a second iteration out of cardboard using our rhino skills cut from the laser cutter. We accomplished a lot up to this point and through testing believed that the rubber band and stretch band work the best for the prototype. Mrs. Estremera gave us some tip on how to add the hinge and the elastic strap to make the arm function properly. When the McMains visitor came we discussed our current prototype and talked about how it can be used by kids with the ability to pull a lever or press a button. There are similar devices like the available to the public, but they are harder to use. We are very excited to see the final outcome of our project. The name we came up with to present to McMains is “Geaux Throw”. We went with this name because it was a catchy and fun way to describe our contraption without saying what it does in the name. From McMain’s received some helpful feedback and were able to implement it into our project. We decided that if we used a two gear and ratchet system to have the student attach to the wheelchair it would assist in allowing children of all abilities to interact with our device. We also began to draw and think about what materials we could use for our final project. We came up with a handle that they use to throw to dogs balls. It is easier to hold the ball or whatever we are using to throw. Tomorrow we will CAD and create our ideas on gear generator and auto inventor to finalize our ideas and almost be ready complete our final build. We decided to use a motor to function the ball thrower instead of doing a manual system. It will still be able to be functioned by the student but it will be a button in the base and a button on top for kids with walkers. We got the motor to work with a stable and strong spring so that the ball can be launched far and work properly.
After testing our final production, wiring, and constructing our ball thrower, we realized how much hard work, sweat, iterations, and prototypes go into this process. We appreciate companies that do things like this a lot more because a lot it takes a lot of time and money to get a final product. We also can’t wait to see the kids faces when we give them our projects and have fun with them. It was a long but fun process and we love how it turned out.