A team of biomedical students from the University of Manitoba’s Biomedical Engineering Design (BMED) have created three innovative assistive technology devices designed to help people with disabilities. The devices are designed to improve the quality of life, specifically for people who have suffered paralysis or weakened muscles due to stroke.
The BMED team has been working on a number of autonomous design projects that will address mobility issues. This year, their three products are the Wheelchair Transfer Project, the EMG Muscle Rehabilitation Project, and the Wheelchair Hand Warmer Project.
1. Wheelchair Transfer Project
The Wheelchair Transfer Project was created by the BMED team in an effort to help a client diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. People with multiple sclerosis have trouble moving and balancing.
In this case, the patient was unable to move her right foot. The patient had lost strength in his right leg. To address this issue, the BMED team came out with an automated assistive footplate, which reduces the need for the person to lift her foot and complete the transfer. The device works simply, with just a push of a button. The device features a lightweight perforated aluminum that allows an individual to easily transfer from one position to another.
The Wheelchair Transfer Project has already won the University of Manitoba’s first-ever Biomedical Engineering Design Competition in Seattle.
2. EMG Muscle Rehabilitation Project
The EMG Muscle Rehabilitation Project is a research-based collaboration between BMED and the University’s Graduate Biomedical Engineering program. The EMG Muscle Rehab Project was created to support people who have suffered paralysis due to stroke. The team has designed an interactive device to aid patients (stroke victims) in their long and frustrating rehabilitation process.
3. Wheelchair Hand Warmer Project
The Wheelchair Hand Warmer Project is the BMED team’s latest disability-focused project. In making the Hand Warmer Project, the BMED team has teamed up with the Health Sciences Center’s Assistive Technology Department. The BMED team has designed a custom hand warmer device for people experiencing muscular dystrophy (MD), a group of muscles diseases that can lead to impaired mobility and progressive weakness. The BMED team has been tasked to work on the device that maintains temperature and allow the safe use of the wheelchair in extremely cold places like in Manitoba, Canada.
The team developed a custom hand-warmer device that automatically regulates the temperature, adding more comfort and safety for the user. The new Hand Warmer device uses temperature sensors and Arduino, an open-source electronics platform, to prevent the client from experiencing too much cold or heat.
You can find more about the BMED’s projects when you visit the University of Manitoba’s official website.
Image credit: Steve Burgess1/Flickr Creative Commons