Category: powered wheelchair controller

Modifications To Protect A Wheelchair

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---- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To create a custom adaptation to protect various parts of an electronic wheelchair for a child with right hemiplegia, vision impairment, and developmental delay. There were a number of fittings on the chair that needed attention and had been damaged by the child. The first issue was the control panel for the joystick, which had a thin film cover over the membrane touch buttons that set the direction and mode. The buttons didn’t work unless they were covered by the film, but the child repeated pulled off the membrane. A piece of malleable aluminum was cut to the exact shape of the panel, leaving three tabs at the top and sides. Holes were punched out for the buttons and whole piece was filed smooth so it would be safe for the child’s hands. The cover fit neatly over the panel, leaving only the buttons exposed. It was held in place with screws that go through the tabs into the sides of the panel, making it impossible to remove without a screwdriver. The second issue was that the child had severely damaged the upholstery on the chair’s left armrest. A piece of black industrial rubber was fit to the metal casing and glued firmly into place, and after it withstood several years of wear. The third issue was the chair’s fuse box located behind the footrests under the seat and well within the child’s reach. A cover needed to be created to go over the existing case to maintain moisture and dirt-proofing. An aluminum panel with loops at each corner on one side was created. The loops went around the pipe chassis of the chair and formed a hinge, so the panel rested over the fuse box to cover it; however, it could also be easily lifted out of the way to access the fuses. This panel was painted black to match the rest of the wheelchair. The chair’s rechargeable battery is under the seat behind the fuse box, covered by a casing that the child had been lifting and damaging. A strap that goes around the casing and underneath the chassis to hold the casing in place was created and fastened with a belt-style buckle that the child could not undo. The final issue was to shield the cabling, which runs from the attendant control at the back of the chair down to the battery and to the joystick in front. In some spots, the cabling plastic had been stripped completely, leaving the wires exposed and prone to damage. A flexible stainless steel braid, which is generally used to armor outdoor cables in plumbing, was used to create a mechanical shield between the cable and the child’s fingers. TITLE: Wheelchair protection. JOURNAL: TAD Journal. REF: Volume 30, Number 4, October 2010: pp. 14-15. PAGES: 3 with cover.


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Technical Aid To The Disabled (TAD)
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TAD is a charity organisation that has the authority to fundraise. TAD uses volunteers dedicated to the design, construction and provision of aids for people with disabilities. Members of TAD provide a resource pool comprising a range of design, engineering, rehabilitation, computer, therapy and other professional and technical skills. Aids custom-designed by TAD volunteers are described in the TAD Journal.

Therapeutic Aids