Our goal is to build a prosthetic that will allow a student to play in their high school band without using their primary Hero Arm. The prosthetic will have to be versatile and allow them to play a multitude of percussion instruments. Likewise, ease of maintenance, durability, and comfort will be paramount. The field of prosthetics is ever-changing with unique needs for each individual. Having a custom-designed mechanism to help this individual will not only take away the stress of potentially damaging their main prosthesis but also allow them to seamlessly live their life like everyone else.
There are two main challenges with this design project. The first is how to attach the prosthetic. The second is how to change out the different instrument sticks that will be used. There are additional problems branching off from these two main issues including comfort, safety, durability, and aesthetics.
The holders shouldn’t be painful or awkward for use.
The holders for the mallets/drumsticks must be secure.
The holders must attach to her arms without slipping.
Each holder shouldn’t weigh more than her Hero arm at 1-2lbs.
The holders need to be used daily in her band class for 35 min each day.
The band director got back to us and gave us a more detailed list of how the instruments are used. Drumsticks and mallets are both about 16″ and are held 4-5″ from the end opposite the striking end. The angle between the surface of the instrument and the stick/mallet when striking should be close to zero. For the mallets, her reach would need to be anywhere from 12-20+” away, and most of the music she would be playing is on the outside of that range.
We talked to medical personnel who deal with prosthetics and said ensuring she wasn’t allergic, that the attachment didn’t chafe or blister her, and that there was support for the prosthetics to be held to her torso in order to help with fatigue were all very important.
We spoke with the family, and her mother informed us that she has no allergies to materials, and the sizes for her arms. Neither the family nor the band director had a fixed idea of what they wanted from us, but the mother said that having an object to grip in her Hero arm wouldn’t work as well since both of her arms are used, and she only has the one Hero arm.
Drill Chuck Clamp
The thought behind this design was a basic arm that had a drill chuck clamp to grip on the end of the drumsticks or mallets. The prosthetic had a suction attachment to her arm, shoulder straps, and a clamp on the hand to hold the instruments.
Pros: This would allow for more variable sizes in what it could hold, and would firmly hold them.
Cons: This would be hard to clean and might be harder for her to change out the sticks.
The thought behind this design was a basic arm that had a bicycle seat style clamp to grip on the end of the drumsticks or mallets. The prosthetic had a suction attachment to her arm, shoulder straps, and a clamp on the hand to hold the instruments.
Pro: These would be very firm to hold the instruments, and would be easy to use/maintain.
Cons: They wouldn’t allow for various size instruments to be used.