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Hacking Wheelchairs

  • From the beginning, are plan to add storage space to the wheelchair. We thought about a variety of ways to do this, including attaching bags to the back and the front and the bottom, but realized that similar products all seemed to exist on the market, and also they were difficult to use. We noticed that the easiest place to access from sitting in a wheelchair with the side, but unfortunately, there were already wheels there, which spun and made it almost impossible to safely attach something. We brought all of these ideas to Andrew, and he informed us of something called the bearing which would allow us to attach our device to the wheel without having it spin. We sketched a bunch of different possible ideas of how to make our wheel pocket. And then started on rhino designing our first draft. On the first Friday we were at NuVu we printed a cardboard version of our design. The first draft work relatively well, although it's very difficult to install, and spined resolve the installation problem with a 3-D printed device in which one side attached to the wheel and the other attached to the backboard of our pockets. We changed the wheels the fabric, and made the backboard wood. We made frames for the pocket out of wood which we could drill on to the backboard and so the pockets too. We printed out the materials for the final and began to sew, a task which none of us had very much experience in. We are met with some pitfalls regarding the tabs that we used to connect the backboard to the frames, but they were solved with relatively no incident. After taking pictures of everything we had, we were finished.


  • Our wheel pocket is designed to help people in wheelchairs carry any number of things from throughout their day. Everyone takes for granted the value of inventions like backpacks, which help us carry many more things easily and well organized. But when in a wheelchair, it becomes more challenging and even dangerous to carry things. As both hands are in use when operating a wheelchair, it becomes difficult to carry anything for an at all extended period of time without it being strapped to your back or your front, which makes it very difficult to reach.

    So, faced with this problem, our solution seemed simple. If we could add some form of storage device to the easily accessible sides, we would have our solution. This idea inspired the wheel pocket.

    The wheel pocket comes equipped with four different pockets, all designed to serve different functions: the large pocket, meant for laptops and books, the iPhone pocket, meant to hold an iPhone, the wallet pocket, meant to hold a wallet or other small parcels, and the umbrella pocket, meant to carry, an umbrella, and in some cases, a baguette. All of the pockets are flexible in their use, so as to better fit the situation.


    Not only are all of the pockets useful in concept, but in practicality as well. The pockets are all made from durable felt, sewn with hemp based thread on a strong wood backboard, keeping all of the users things safe.


    Now, I'm sure a a potential user would be wondering, why would I want all of my stuff spinning around all day, but the good news is, it won't be. Using a Bearing we are able to keep the wheel pocket stationary while being right in the center of the wheel. And with a 3D printed device of our own design, installation is quick and easy


  • On another day without my partner, I was able to examine our recently printed slider mechanism that was supposed to be perfect. I got to look at it and made sure it worked. Moving forward, the design will be further improved by including a track system that will keep the raising part better alligned. Putting off the actual mechanism for a short while, today was mostly about our model chair. We have mostly designed a scale 3D model of the wheelchair in the studio and adjusted it to be able to move with separate pieces. On one hand, it is a privelege to be able to re-structure the wheelchair and get maximum customization. On the other one, it is a major challenge that we have to add a whole new step to a process. Overall though, I do believe that it will have ended up being a fantastic choice.

  • After today, we have a start of a 3D print. We did a seemingly flawless run on Fusion of our sliders, however, when it is created physically, it is not as exact as the computer. We tried to put a stopper on the ends of the two devices.This would allow the smaller part to slide in and out of the bigger part to a certain point so it will not fall out. Our design still holds water as a viable option and will most likely prove more effective soon. We will go back to the computer to check our design and fine tune the mechanism so that we can continue on our project with ease. Marty and I have the best hopes for the mechanism in its next iteration and count on making those hopes a reality as soon as possible.

  • Here is a look at the new method that we will be using to raise our seat and keep it attached to the rest of the chair. It is usually used for drawers, but we will be flipping it on its side and letting it telescope up.

  • These are the last shots of our scissor concept. It was the idea that we thought was going to go somewhere but didn't. After much discussion, it was discovered that the scissor was too unreliable unless atomically measured. With so many points of attachment, the structure will lean all sorts of different ways. Even with that being so, our eventual wood prototype wasn't so bad.

  • After doing a lot of brainstorming about our issue relating to the raising of a wheelchair seat, Marty and I began to wonder about one of our most viable options. Having a sort of scissor lift raise the seat seemed to be a good way to solve our problem. We decided to figure out what scissors of that nature would look like.

  • We are trying to solve the issue of height. People who are regularly sitting in wheelchairs are misfortuned with a point of view shorter than their actual body. They cannot work efficiently and comfortably in an average workshop. When a workbench, shelves, or drawers are made for a person standing at their full height, a wheelchair user cannot complete tasks that require such resources.

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  • Your "Final Post" should only show the final images and diagrams of your final project. 

    Images: See slideshow above explaining the images required for the final post

    Text: The text should answer the following questions:

    • What is the main idea? This can be a 2-3 sentence "Elevator Speech"..
    • What is the design problem? What are you trying to solve?
    • Why is this project important?
  • Your "Process Post" should go through the entire process from beginning to end.

    Images: See slideshow above explaining the images required for the process post. 

    Text: The text should read somewhat similarly to a thesis paper:

    Introduction: What was the design prompt? What did you brainstorm? What was your solution?  

    Arguments: These are your 3 iterations, there should be one clearly labeled paragraph for each iteration explaining the design decisions you made. 

    • Sketches
    • Design Prototype, images, drawings
    • What works?
    • What doesn't work?
    • What will change?
    • Why?

    Conclusion: This is an explaination of your final product.

  • Hypothermia is a serious danger to high altitude climbers. When a patient suffering from hypothermia is brought to a hospital for medical assistance, a doctor typically begins treating the patient by setting him or her up with a heated IV. Injecting warm saline solution into the body raises the patient’s core body temperature as well as hydrates and provides the patient with nutrients. This ultimately relieves hypothermia. A large problem is that often times those suffering from hypothermia do not have immediate access to medical assistance. We wanted to create a portable heated IV for extreme climate situations and/or high altitude climbers suffering from hypothermia or dehydration. This product is not supposed to heal a person completely, it is intended to be used as a temporary aid to prolong the user’s life until they can receive medical assistance.

    The device purifies the water using a cap with built in UV lights. This "purifier" screws into a separate compartment containing ceramic resistors that heat the IV drip reservoir. After being purified and heated, the water flows through the IV tubing until it reaches the needle. The needle is intended to be clipped into the specialized cuff created. The cuff is an 3D printed semi-circle placed on a person's forearm. The cuff is designed to simplify and secure the injection of the IV needle into the person's vein. The other compartments of the cannister hold other necessary components including the salt tablet/packet, a vein finder (Infrared light device), etc.

    The importance of the product is clear--it could be the defying factor of a high altitude climber's survival. Without the Portable Warm IV, a person could possibly die of hypothermia on the mountain but with the IV, the chance of his or her core body temperature warming enough to prolong the survival long enough to receive medical assistance is likely. There are no existing products that are capable of helping high altitude mountaineers let alone in extreme conditions return their body to a normal temperature. Since hypothermia is such a serious threat to the lives of mountaineers, it is crucial to have a device that would keep them alive at high altitudes and dangerously cold temperatures. The portable warm IV would bring the user fundamental and pragmatic medical attention immediately, making it a life-changing product... Literally.

  • Many people have careers that place them on the brink of life and death. While there are many technologies out there to help people who are placed in those situations, there are still many advancements that need to be made. For the brainstorming process, we brainstormed many different scenarios and careers that place people on the brink of life. Among these careers are deep sea divers, firefighters, high altitude mountaineers, and back-country skiers. People who take part in these activities experience hypothermia, low oxygen levels, and frostbite, among other issues. While doing research on hypothermia we found that one of the first things that doctors do to treat hypothermia is give them a heated IV. This heated IV allows the patient to raise their body temperature, easing them out of hypothermia. Our group thought that creating a portable heated IV would be great for people who are experiencing hypothermia while high altitude climbing, and once treated with this IV, they will be healthy enough to summit the mountain to seek medical help.

    Originally, we were going to have IV bags that people would carry in their packs. After thinking about that for awhile, we realized that carrying an IV bag would add a bunch of extra weight to a backpack. Most high altitude climbers use Nalgenes, so we decided to use the water from our Nalgene for the IV. The water in the Nalgene will be purified by UV lights. Additionally, in the compartment there will be a salt tab that will mix with the water to create the saline solution that is normally found in an IV bag.

    The first iteration of the portable heated IV screwed onto the top of the water bottle. This cap was comprised of 6 holes for the UV lights, with a hole in the middle for the IV. We liked the shape of the compartment, and it screwed on and off of the Nalgene cap easily, so we continued off that idea for our next iteration. However, the piece wasn’t long enough, so we decided to lengthen it. We knew before creating the piece that it would not hold the cuff and the necessary technology involved in our piece, but we created it to test the shape and idea.

    In our second iteration, we redesigned the cylinder so that it actually had two compartments that would screw together. Though there were two compartments, there would be a small piece in between the two that would screw them together, so that they remained the same diameter and size. We designed the piece to fit exactly between the two compartments so that it wouldn’t be visible when the entire piece was together. The part had triangular shaped spaces cutting through it where the IV tube and wires for the technology side of our studio fit. In the upper cylinder, the holes remained for the UV lights, but there was more space underneath for the Arduino. In the bottom compartment, we created a hole in the middle designed to fit the IV reservoir and tubing, and small spaces directly next to the reservoir where the resistors to warm the reservoir sat. This spacing for the pieces worked well, except that the entire reservoir piece took up too much room, so much that all of the compartments didn’t screw together. Underneath the inner part designed to hold the reservoir and resistors, there was room underneath to hold the arm cuff and the excess tubing. We also designed two caps to close together the whole piece. Except for the fact that it was a bit sharp and there some minor fitting issues, the caps worked well and made the entire piece compact and portable. For the next iteration, which was the final one, we made a few critical changes.

        The next iteration was the design of the arm cuff. The purpose of the arm cuff is to hold and stabilize the needle, making it easier to slide and secure in the user’s arm. However, the cuff couldn’t be too big, because otherwise it wouldn’t fit in our bottom compartment, defeating the purpose of keeping all the pieces in one place. On Fusion, we created the piece so that it rounded to sit on the user’s forearm comfortably. There were two cutouts on the ends to connect with the Velcro strapping that would allow for adjustability and security. The top of the cuff had a track allowing the needle holder to run back and forth. The needle holder was just a semi circle piece, with the length across being the diameter of the needle holder on the tubing, so that the needle holder would just pop into place on the cuff. There were a few issues with the piece, though. The two cutouts on the ends were thin, so they weren’t strong enough to hold the strapping - one of the pieces actually broke. Another problem was the semi circle needle holder on the cuff didn’t hold the actual casing around the needle, so it fit it but didn’t keep it in place. Also, the body of the cuff wasn’t long enough to fit comfortably. For our final iteration, we had to change these issues.

    The final iteration of the container is pretty similar to the previous, we only changed a few things. The major change that we made was to the canister. We moved the IV holder to the side so that the tube and electronics can go out the side instead of through the middle. The second compartment that we added was for the battery pack. Adding this battery pack allows us to use a bigger battery, and still fit everything within the container. The final thing that we made space for in the container is the cuff. Secondly, we reprinted the connector screw. While keeping the hole consistent throughout, we made the reel slits only halfway through. We kept the slits so that we can twist the screw, but we made part of it solid so that the user can not see the arduino and chords while in use.


    Biometrics Process

    This process began by deciding what sensors and devices we wanted to use in order to perform the most beneficial functions to the portable IV.  The first and most obvious function was a heating device due to the extremely cold temperatures on mountains that the user would be hiking in.  This heating device would be used to heat the IV to the optimal heat between 104 and 106 degrees Fahrenheit.  The idea of this heating device is that is using the heat that resistors generate in order to heat the IV drip to the optimal temperature.  This process began by simply hooking a 3.9 ohm resistor up to the Arduino and attaching the resistor up to the temperature sensor in order to read the heat that the resistor was giving off.  Initially there was not enough power to make the resistor heat up to the optimal heat.  Many alterations were then made over a span of three days.  The result was four resistors saudered in series hooked up to an 11 volt lithium polymer battery. This battery provided the correct amount of power in order to heat the resistors up to the correct temperature.  The four resistors could now be wrapped around the temperature sensor in order to insulate the increased heat.  This allowed for the temperature to increase faster.  The arduino was then programmed to cool down if the temperature exceeded 106 degrees and heat up if the temperature fell below 102 degrees the resistors would heat up again.  After this was successfully programmed the sketch was uploaded to an Arduino Micro, and the necessary wires were saudered into a perf board in order to minimize the size of the device in order for the device to fit into the piece.  After this was done, UV lights were attached in series and saudered together in order to fit into the holes in which they are meant to be placed within the piece.  However, the lights should have been attached in parallel rather than in series.  This issue was fixed and the lights worked.