Category: Standing


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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a mechanical stander and adjustable walker for a young child with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is a neuromuscular disease which results in weakness and limited mobility in the limbs, particularly the legs. Because of this weakness, the child was forced to spend most of his time in a sitting or lying position. The STRIDER project resulted in an adjustable device that supported the child in a standing position and allowed him to walk independently, facilitating better circulation and physical exercise. It will accommodate the child as he grows and gains weight through age 6. The main prototype requirements were to provide exercise and health benefits through age 6; be maneuverable, durable and lightweight; be compatible with or take the place of a hip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis; be adaptable for future improvements; be able to bear variable weights for different levels of exercise; be easily cleaned and maintained. The system was designed with four large wheels and an adjustable suspension system. A coil over suspension is located between the support harness and the lower frame. This system can be adjusted both in height (to accommodate the child as he grows) and in spring stiffness. The springs are relatively soft which isolates the child from large ground induced shocks as the STRIDER moves. The springs also allow the child to "walk" using the system as he can bounce up and down to alternatively touch the ground and lift his feet as he propels himself forward. A system of nuts and screws allow adjustable pre-tensioning of the spring to accommodate the child as his weight changes. The basic frame supporting the system is made from 6061-T6 aluminum to keep the system relatively light. This allows the child to move the STRIDER under his own power. The front castors allow the system to be steered by either the child's feet or by a parent or other attendant. Handles in the back allow a parent or attendant to push and control the STRIDER like a stroller. An optional footplate is provided when the STRIDER is used as an upright stroller to keep the child's feet from dragging on the ground. This can be removed when the child is using the STRIDER independently. The post at the back of the STRIDER allows the carriage to move vertically as the child is moving. The carriage has a welded structure which allows the attachment of the child’s harness. This carriage can be replaced with a larger structure as he grows. Lastly, the STRIDER is designed to be collapsible so that it can be transported easily in a duffle bag. The STRIDER was designed to ensure that it would not tip when placed on up to a 30 degree incline. The harness support is made from tubing with a minimum wall thickness of 0.5 inches and an outside diameter of one inch. This provides an ample factor of safety with regard to any structure failure. The cost of materials and supplies to produce the STRIDER was approximately $1356.78. TITLE: The Strider. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 6: pp. 50-54. PAGES: 6 with cover. 2010.


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