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STTR Phase I: Robotic mobile computer mount and desk for wheelchairs to enhance the educational experiences of students with disabilities
Phone: (765) 418-7150
Phone: (765) 418-7150
Contact: Justin Seipel
Type: Nonprofit College or University
This STTR Phase I project focuses on improving the independence and active learning experiences for students with mobility impairments in typical educational environments, including classrooms, libraries, meeting rooms, laboratories, as well as nontraditional settings, such as breakout spaces and conference rooms. Student wheelchair users rely on personal computer technology for accessing assistive technology hardware and software for writing, note and test taking, drawing, accessing digital information, and communicating. Mobile computers provide these essential tasks anywhere they need to be allowing them to be more productive and effective at interacting with their classmates without disabilities during curricular activities. Unfortunately, being able to efficiently retrieve and stow mobile computers is difficult for wheelchair users, particularly for those with upper limb mobility impairments. Current wheelchair computer mounts do not allow students with disabilities to independently use them and access their mobile computers wherever they need to be. The proposed robotic wheelchair platform allows students with disabilities to access a mobile computer and work surface in order to be as productive and self-sufficient as everyone else. This universal access to mobile computing technology allows students with disabilities to more actively participate in practice-based educational activities, including laboratory research, groups study sessions, and science fieldwork. A robotic wheelchair mount for a mobile computer and as a writing surface is developed to enable persons with upper extremity mobility impairments to independently retract and deploy using a single input. This device allows students with disabilities, such as those with traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and other conditions, to be able to go underneath desks and tables when desired, to more naturally interact with classmates, have the ability to use a mobile computer or desk anywhere they are, and does not impede transferring in and out of the wheelchair. The design of this device works seamlessly with power wheelchairs with motorized seats that tilt in space, have reclining backrests, movable leg rests, and vertically elevate while not compromising the functions and overall size of the wheelchair. The versatility of this device in how it mounts and is operated by individuals with severe disabilities is superior to traditional fixed mounting systems that require assistance to remove. During this project production-ready devices will be fabricated for human subject testing to assess usability, functionality, reliability, safety, and user satisfaction during the performance of typical educational and daily living activities.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *