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Category: Fine Motor Disabilities

Adjustable Easel And Marker Holder

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of an adjustable easel with a tray to hold marker pens for a high school student with cerebral palsy. The girl has severe contractures in her fingers, which made it difficult for her to grasp and release markers when desired. When she needed a new marker, a teacher or aide manually opened her fingers and placed a new marker in her hand. Her range of motion was limited, and she could only access a portion of the drawing surface. Designers created an adjustable easel that fit on the girl's lap tray. The drawing surface rotated and had an adjustable tilt angle. The young woman could rotate the surface independently. A teacher or aide could adjust the tilt angle, although once the optimal angle was set, adjustments were rare. The device also included a marker holder so that she could access up to eight markers. She could slide the marker holder laterally out of the way when desired. The easel consisted of a stable base and an adjustable drawing surface, both of which were made of furniture-grade plywood. The top surface was mounted to a backing using a lazy susan, which allowed the surface to rotate relative to the backing. The plywood backing was connected to the base with a hinge along the front edge. Several adjustments were possible, and the young woman could access about half of the drawing area at one time. By rotating the top surface, she could position any part of the paper within her range for drawing. By tilting the easel surface, the teacher or aide could adjust it to the ideal drawing angle for the young woman. There was a latching mechanism to hold it at an appropriate angle. This consisted of a wooden post that was hinged to the center of the backing, and it fit into one of six slots on the base, allowing for six different angle adjustments. The drawing surface had two large clips on the left and right sides to hold the paper, notebook or pad in place. The marker holder allowed the young woman to independently access any one of eight markers. Initially, the teacher or aide loaded the markers, with the caps removed. The user could remove and replace the markers at any time. The holder was an acrylic box. The top plate of the box had eight holes, spaced 1 inch apart, in a single row. On the inside of the box, the bottom plate was covered with a layer of Spenco to keep the marker tips from drying out. When placing a marker in the holder, the young woman had a difficult time releasing the marker. As a result, some resistance was needed to keep the marker in place as she tried to release it from her hand. The designers put a layer of foam material underneath the top plate of the holder to create this resistance. The foam had holes that are slightly smaller than those of the acrylic, providing a snug fit for the markers. This resistance was great enough to help her let go of the markers when replacing them, but not so great that it was difficult for her to remove them from the holder when desired. For the young woman to access the marker holder, the ideal location was directly in front of the easel. However, it was then in the way of her drawing. Therefore, a mechanism was included that assisted her to slide it out of the way. The marker holder connected to a custom wood mount in the shape of an elongated letter "C." This attached to a drawer slide that was connected to the base of the easel. There was a handle on the end of the wood mount, and the young woman could grab this handle and move the marker holder left and right as necessary. The total cost of the device was $83. DIMENSIONS: Drawing surface is 14 x 20 inches. TITLE: Picasso’s Assistant: Adjustable Easel and Marker Holder. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 7: pp. 76-77. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2010. http://nsf-pad.bme.uconn.edu/2010/CHAPTER%207%20DUKE%20UNIVERSITY.pdf.

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as of: 
08/26/2013
Adjustable Easel And Marker Holder
 
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