Emily Carr x UBC neckbrace design project.

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angus

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Emily Carr University of Design - Industrial Design students, in partnership with University of British Columbia - Mechanical Engineering Students are working to produce a neck brace and or body harness for people with advanced ALS. Our goal is to design and produce a unit that assists the movement of the head (nodding and lateral rotation) via an electronic mechanism. This semester we are working on research and development. Next semester we plan to produce a working prototype by March. As students, we would greatly appreciate comments, concerns, and feedback regarding our process and design of the product.

Thanks :)
 

Al

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Have you contacted the BC ALS Society? I'm sure they could provide you with valuable feedback.

AL.
 

MtPockets

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A big concern of mine is irritation of the skin due to pressure. A hard standard neck brace does not work well for me. Please consider something soft that will not irritate. This is what I use now and I added a Velcro strap around the whole thing to hold it in place. I can therefor adjust it to fit comfortably.
Cost is also a big issue with us. My neck thingy only cost $20.
neckmassage.jpg
 

CindyM

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I wish you well on this project! I think it is great when technology can be integrated to help our PALS.
 

joelc

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These students are doing a fantastic job on designing a suitable neck brace. They are doing it in consultation with ALSBC
.As a matter of fact I have spoken to them twice now, and today they were at our ALS Symposium held in Vancouver which I attended.

Please read what Angus wrote above and share your thoughts - they are very concerned about producing a neck brace that will be suitable for ALS patients.

Please help them, they are doing this for us!
 

angus

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thanks everyone for giving us feed back so quickly! as joel said, we are already working in conjunction with ALSBC as well as some occupational therapists, chiropractors, medical assistive designers, soft product designers, and other very valuable sources. we will try to update everyone on this thread as often as we can regarding our processes, ideas, and iterations.

thanks you so much for your participation!
angus
 

Bruce P

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MTPOCKETS
What is that called and where can I get it?

Bruce
 

ECUStudent J

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Hi,
We are in constant contact with BC ALS Society. We are working with them on the project. They are a very valuable resource, and Wendy does a tremendous amount to support us. We'd like to develop more dialogue with people living with ALS, and hopefully find anyone who is willing to let a couple of us spend a day at home with you to really observe the daily challenges many of you are facing, in order to better inform our project. Our intention is to design a product which will enhance ones quality of life. We, as students, are passionate about helping those living with ALS. The more informed we are about those living with the disease, the more we can try to help.
 

ECUStudent J

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Hi Joel,
My name is Jayson. We met again at the Symposium on Thursday. I am schoolmates with Angus. I just wanted to write and say thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Your feedback is tremendous and we really learn a lot when we talk with you. What we would really like to do is spend some 'at home' time with someone who is struggling to move their head. Someone who may benefit from our motorized mechanical neck brace. Just to explain again for anyone reading this, our neck brace is designed to move the head laterally (left to right) as well as up and down ( nodding motion) , under the power of a motorized mechanism. The Mechanical Engineers we are working with from UBC, have determined what type of mechanism we will be using, but we are struggling with how and what to attach this to. We are looking at developing is a back brace which would replace the existing back rest in a wheelchair, which would then have the mechanism mounted to the top and attach to the head. One of our greatest challenges is how to keep the user in a comfortable position and still try to prevent them from slipping out of the head mechanism. We are currently considering introducing a lumbar support which would slightly curve the users back to help maintain an upright position in the chair. This lumbar support could be adjusted to accomodate the user's optimal position, enabling both the mechanism's proper function as well as helping to keep the user from leaning to one side. In order for the mechanism to work, the user would need to keep their head in line with the mechanism. However, we don't want to have this be an uncomfortable position, or be too imposing. We are doing everything we can to keep anything from wrapping around the front of the body to hold the user in place. This is why we are looking at how we could use the natural shape and curve of the back to facilitate our design. It's a difficult balance, but we're doing our best. We don't want to design anything that improves one aspect, yet negatively effects another. Again, any feedback our suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Thank you,
Jayson
 

joelc

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Angus & Jayson;

We all sincerely appreciate your efforts to help those of us who have ALS!

I want to reinforce what I have already told a lot of people - I make myself available to help in any way I can, if you want to use me for your tests you are welcome in our home anytime.

If you want to find someone whose neck is weaker than mine I will try to help you, just let me know.
 

MtPockets

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For those who asked about the neckbrace I use the el cheapo model, it is at:
http://www.homedics.com/products/ma...ers/neck-and-shoulder-massager-with-heat.html
Their price is $19.99 plus shipping. It has heat and massage features. It works off of regular house power or batteries.
The only modification I made to it was to get a long piece of velcro and tie it arounnd to tighten up the neck brace to hold my head better.
neckmassage.jpg
 

tinkerbell

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This is exciting! I spend a lot of time around people with ALS and I am always "inventing" things in my mind. Especially- a good neck brace! I am sure, depending upon each person and depending upon what the requirements are for your project, my thoughts may not be applicable. But I have been imagining a pillow type device with a built in neck brace. Many times, it seems like a neck brace would work better if it was in more of a butterfly shaped pillow. The neck support needs to be form fitting in any direction needed- some people's heads tilt left, right, front.... This device would allow you to "tighten up" one side. (As if it had a pliable metal core) A Pillow style would sit on the shoulders naturally and must be soft, filled with like a core of memory foam with those "beads" around, (You know those pillows with tiny styrofoam beads they make those squishy pillows with?). As a side note, and technologically advanced idea, I wish it could work as an interface with communication devices, such as DynaVox. As ALS causes paralysis, it would be an amazing thing, if people could use their eye gaze system to adjust their head position. Often they have to wait for help, keep asking until they find the position, or just remain uncomfortable.
Good luck and can't wait to see what you come up with.
Thanks! What a great project.
Michele
 

kelly

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It is people like you that make the lives of PALS and CALS easier. Keep brainstorming. Make your vision a realitY!
Thank you,
KR
 
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