TOM Melbourne Challenges & Solutions
Team 1: Movers & Shakers
The Challenge: Anat has an acquired brain injury (ABI), after a car accident in 2004. Anat’s right-hand shakes and she finds it difficult to perform everyday activities including writing and using utensils. Her left arm does not function very well because of spasticity (very weak hand).
Anat would like to improve her right-hand functions to be able to write and use utensils easier and with more stability.
The Solution: A special bracelet that stabilizes her hand and allows her to return to journal writing, one of her passions.
Ricardo Garcia Rosas
Team 2: TechNeck
The challenge: Christian has Hemiplegia and is paralysed from the neck down. He struggles daily with the functionality of his current wheelchair headrest. They are often invariably fixed and inflexible.
Christian’s challenge is that when he needs to look down and tilt his head forward the headrest comes away and no longer provides support. This is a problem for people who have limited lateral (sideways) muscular control. Christian’s challenge is a system that provides headrest support (including lateral support) through the degree of movement of the head and neck from upright to forward (chin on chest).
The Solution: Christian’s team came up with a 3d printed head rest that is controlled by simple electronics that moves with his head motion, constantly giving him support and control.
Raphael Moya Castro
Lilith Cabalero Aguilar
Team 3: Step Up
The Challenge: Stacey has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. She doesn’t like to let her disability stop her from being busy in her daily routines. She loves traveling around but her biggest barrier is stairs, specifically sidewalk curbs without curb cuts and shops that have just one or two stairs at the entry. She feels segregated and excluded when she can’t go into a cafe or a shop simply because there is no ramp. Stacey will be traveling independently overseas with her electric wheelchair, however, it is heavy and hard to lift. Stacey’s dream is to be able to independently overcome inaccessible environments wherever she goes in the world. It would change her life and many others.
Oren is a Lecturer of Biomechanics and Clinical Gait Analysis at Swinburne University. He wants to reduce the physical effort in a wheelchair and create an assistive technology device that can overcome uneven terrain. Oren is also a researcher and will work in partnership with Stacey to develop a solution to her challenge.
The Solution: In consultation with Stacey, the team created a portable ramp solution that includes 2 parts that are stored on the side of her wheelchair. When she approaches a curb, Stacey uses a stick with a magnet at the end to place the two ramp pieces next to the curb; she drives her chair up and then turns to pick up the pieces and return them to their storage space.
Ka Chun Fong
Team 4: The Bridges
The Challenge: Gemma is a specialist Occupational Therapist & Assistive Technology Consultant and has a challenge for her client who has a spinal cord injury. Her client has no finger control and finds it difficult to hold a video game controller in his hand. Her challenge is to create a controller modification device that can be used with one hand. This problem also exists for drone and other remote control cars that require hand control.
The Solution: The team created a board that attaches onto the front of the wheelchair like a table. They then created large buttons that recreate the actions of a video game controller’s and are easily pressed. This allows to play the games without ever needing to hold a remote.
Team 5: Operation Sit Down
The Challenge: Jack has cerebral palsy which mainly affects his legs and he therefore, walks with canadian crutches. He finds walking okay but gets very tired when having to stand in one spot. This makes many outings very difficult as he cannot sit down. Often seats are hard to find or not in very convenient locations. Jack’s challenge is to be able to use his crutches as a seat.
The Solution: Jack’s team adapted his crutches and created an attachment using a fabric camping chair in order to create a collapsible seat for him. The seat is part of his crutches and is easily set up.
Team 6: Re-Cycle
The Challenge: Mandy is a quadruple amputee and a motivational speaker. She has two prosthetic hands and two prosthetic legs. She can’t bend her knees past 90 degrees and therefore cannot ride a bike; She also can’t use a recumbent bike. Mandy’s challenge is to create a device to allow her to ride a tricycle.
The Solution: Mandy’s team combined and adapted two existing bike frames to make her new bicycle. Adaptations included; a mechanism to allow for back pedal brakes and gears, an electric motor, and new pedal and handlebar placement to allow her better control and reach with prosthetics. Of course, the bike was also painted bright red just as Mandy requested.
Team 7: Switched On
The Challenge: Gemma is a specialist Occupational Therapist & Assistive Technology Consultant and has a challenge for her clients who find it difficult to turn on a computer or laptop as they cannot use their arms at all. The power button is either too small or out of reach. They can, however, operate a computer using a head controller or mouth controlled mouse. Her challenge is to create a technology device to help them turn a computer on.
The Solution: The team used 3D printing and simple programming to create a device with an ‘electronic finger’ that can be alerted to turn on the computer. The device is portable and can be attached to any computer.
Team 8: Jill Will
The Challenge: Reece is an Occupational Therapist and has a challenge for one of his clients, Jill. Jill has cerebral palsy, which has affected all her arms and legs, meaning she is in a wheelchair full time. This has lead to an increase in the risk of a pressure-related injury. Although Jill has around the clock carers, she can still complete some tasks independently. It’s important that when undertaking these activities she remains in the correct posture to avoid a pressure- related injury. Her challenge is to create a pressure sensitive system with feedback that can be used on wheelchairs to help with posture and aid in the movement of the buttocks, legs and back.
The Solution: Jill’s team worked with her and Reece to create a system that sits under her in her wheelchair and, using a network of sensors, can alert her to to incorrect movement or posture. Thus allows her and her carers to correct and avoid injury.
Team 9: Youki’s Island
The Challenge: Youki is a 19-year-old boy born with cerebral palsy. He cannot walk and uses an electric wheelchair which he controls the joystick with his right hand. His cannot use his left hand, both legs are paralysed and finds it very difficult to balance. The challenge for his Mum is getting him dressed and changing his clothes; as Youki’s weight makes it very difficult for her to physically support him while trying to dress him.
The Solution: Youki’s team worked with him and his parents to develop several unique solutions. One is a harness that can be attached to a paiir off pants to allwo Youki to dres himself. This also include a mechanism to allow him to close zippers. Another is a system of pulleys attached to a portable structure which assists his mother in dressing him.
Team 10: Tiger Eyes
The Challenge: Mike is the Customer & Community Engagement Manager at Scope and has a challenge for one of his clients Kevin Thomas.
Kevin is in his 50’s and has a complex physical disability; this means that he uses alternative ways to communicate and has only very limited use of his arms and head. Kevin is not able to use eye tracking but can manipulate switches if they are large. Kevin loves the Richmond Football Team and Horse Racing and would like the opportunity to be able to access this information via the Internet and have it spoken to him. Currently, Kevin relies on others to help him set up a computer, find the information, and work with him closely to access the exact information he is looking for. Kevin would like a system that will allow him to do these tasks independently without needing to rely on others.
The Solution: Kevin’s team worked with him closely to create a software solution which allows for Sites and searches of Kevin’s favorite subjects to be available on his desktop in large easy icons. The also created a large easy to use button that Kevin can operate. The sites Kevin wishes to access are then put into a custom text-speech program automatically to allow Kevin to access the content independently.
Xuan Wei Low
Reagan k Susanto