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Project Information / Information sur le projet
Possible technologies involved / Technologies possibles impliquées: 3D printing, laser cutting, machining.
Project Type / Type de projet : General
Expected prototype budget / Budget prévu pour le prototype: Not available
Expected project cost / Coût prévu du projet cost: $100
Client Information / Information sur le client
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Project background / Contexte du projet
Individuals with arm weakness due to various disabilities often have difficulty participating in daily living activities requiring arm movement against gravity such as feeding themselves, brushing their hair, washing their face and accessing technology (phone, iPad, single switch) independently. Assistance with arm movement against gravity can greatly improve an individual’s participation and autonomy. There is a major shortfall for children, youth and adults in the area of devices that can assist arm movement to achieve the tasks described. Without such equipment individuals are barred from the degree of independence and personal freedom that is possible.

This proposal seeks to address this problem not only for young clients at CHEO - CTC but also for other people with this limitation in arm function. Although there are some commercially available types of mobile arm supports including overhead arm support with slings (Jaeco company) most of the commercial equipment options have limited customization or adaptability, are not well designed for children and youth, and are very expensive.  It is difficult to find funding to assist with the cost of these devices. Some families have created their own solutions to the overhead arm support option but these also often lack the ability to easily adjust and fine tune the support given to the individual to provide the best functional outcome.

Your task is to design an overhead arm support system that will function to overcome the limitations that weak arms pose. They must be created to be easily fabricated, have significantly lower cost, and be designed for customization and adaptation to the individual’s needs for CHEO clients aged 0-19. It must have adjustability for the placement, angle and force of support. Materials should include IV bars that can easily attach to wheelchairs or similar; floor mount options that the overhead arm supports could attach to; hardware to attach an arm brace to a desk or table; cloth or neoprene plus webbing for straps with adjustability via Velcro or webbing adjustment; 3D printing of arm braces and their components along with hardware needed for adjustability in size within sections and joints between sections; methods and variety of hardware and systems for attachment to wheelchair and other seating structures. 

The Adaptive Toy and Tech Resource Centre would provide the prototype for trial and loan to clients. Fabrication plans would be available for families to make their own overhead arm supports or enlist volunteer help from CHEO or another source with fabrication. These arrangements will extend the benefits of such systems to as wide a community as possible. Reproduction across the province and beyond is anticipated.  

Past attempts / Tentatives précédentes
There has been no previous attempt to solving this problem. / Il n'y a pas de tentatives précédentes pour résoudre ce problème.

Overhead Arm Support
Aug 16 2023

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