Our client has two children that both have medical issues. These issues require an apparatus that will help teach both of them to walk and encourage motor development. One has issues with maintaining posture, and the other requires a feeding tube holder and the ability to encourage her holding her own weight up. The solution that we came up with will be combination of multiple existing technologies that will fill theses needs for both children. We will combine some sort of walker support with a seat that will be able to support both children.
The client needs a walker type apparatus that can accommodate two children that are both 18 pounds and 27 inches tall. There also needs to be a feeding tube bag and back support. Also we need to make sure it is comfortable for the girl with a feeding tube mount when looking at how the children will be held inside said walker. Along with these constraints we also need the ability for the children to comfortable grip some sort of handles at a comfortable height of about 15 inches from the ground.
The base of our clients’ need is a walker of which there are many varieties. One idea was to essentially combine a walker frame with a baby bouncer. With this idea, the frame and seat would support some portion of the child’s weight while still allowing the child to move around using their legs. We plan to also add a hook to the upper portion of the frame as a way to support the girl’s feeding tube materials. Our main challenge will likely be designing a seat that supports some but not all of the child’s weight while maintaining the walker’s balance and allowing for the child’s movement.
Upon our initial reviewing all of the considered candidates, we originally believed that Design 1 would be the most feasible and would require the least amount of modifications in order to fulfill the needs of our client. However upon further consideration, we decided that the customization offered by Design 2 would allow up to fulfill the client’s needs with far greater precision. Design 2 will require us to purchase a pre-made sling seat to accommodate our client.
The frame design will have a U-shaped body with the front portion of the frame open in order to allow for the children to better interact with their environment. We will use four mounted brackets and pins to hold the seat to the frame while simultaneously allowing for easy removal of the seat in order to clean it.
The back support attached to the frame will give the children the trunk support needed to allow them to move around. It will be 3D printed and made of a plastic material.
The harness-style sling seat will help to support the children’s body weight while still allowing for a wide range of mobility for the legs. As the frame and many of its components will be made of an aluminum alloy, the frame will be more than strong enough to support any stressed the children will exert on it with normal use.
There will be a raised hook mounted to the frame in order to hang the feeding pouch on when the feeding tube is in use. The feeding tube pump will be able to be mounted and removed from the frame as needed.
1) Aluminum tubing and brackets were cut in the shop and holes drilled to allow for height adjustment.
2) Our back brace was custom designed and 3D printed.
3) Foam padding was glued to the back brace for comfort. Nylon straps were also sown around pre-determined hole on the back brace to allow for trunk support.
4) Our frame was welded together in the shop.
5) We attached our back brace to the frame using a CNCed bracket and attached the seat to the frame.
6) After determining that everything was in place, our frame was painted.
Do not use the device unless supervised by an adult that has been fully understood the safe use of this product.
Throughout our time working on this project, we gained experience with the tools and machines within the machine shop while also learning about the processes involved with designing and fabrication of a product. We worked together as a team in order to coordinate individual goals and timelines. Scheduling around a group of five can be difficult, so we tried our best to stay in communication with one another and keep each other updated on our progress. As we completed our individual tasks, the project as a whole came together and took form. When delivering the completed walker, the family seemed to be quite happy with the final product and the children seemed to have had little trouble with using the walker as intended. It was very rewarding to put our knowledge and skills together in order to try and better the lives of these children.