DETROIT– Students from Lawrence Technological University and the University of Detroit Mercy displayed five novel systems for addressing the needs of disabled veterans Friday in a presentation before veterans and staff at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.
The students designed the devices as capstone senior design projects. Their efforts drew praise from the individual veterans who were their clients. And the students said they intend to pursue commercial production of the devices.
Working on the projects were LTU biomedical engineering students, nursing and engineering students from Detroit Mercy, and students at the Detroit Mercy law school.
The presentations included:
- The Under Pressure Bed. A new approach to treating pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores), the device is a pad with eight chambers that a person in a wheelchair sits on. The chambers inflate and deflate under a computer-controlled program, changing the person’s position regularly, and thus preventing pressure ulcers. The device is predicted to cost $1,000 to $1,500 to produce profitably.
- StretchPro, a device based on an automotive jack that helps a person with limited leg mobility stretch out his or her legs, improving mobility. The group plans to continue to work on the device, making it lighter and less expensive. Initial retail cost is expected to be around $200.
- Walk & Lift. This product, a cane, was designed for a multiple sclerosis patient who has a hard time lifting his feet off the ground more than a few inches. The cane has a fabric and rubber stirrup that pops out of the bottom at the push of a button, allowing a user to fit the strirrup around their foot and lift their leg – for example, into a car, or onto an ottoman. The cane is made of carbon fiber composite and weighs less than a pound, and is predicted to retail for $150.
- Squeaky Kleen, a portable shower for a person in a wheelchair. The device, which can be placed in any room, consists of a plastic or aluminum frame and shower curtains, and uses a small electric pump to clear out the water from the bottom of the shower. It’s predicted to cost about $600. It also features a temperature-sensing shower head to prevent burns in areas of the body a person in a wheelchair may not be able to feel.
- Get a Grip, a computerized glove that helps a person with limited hand mobility grasp objects. It combines a glove, actuator, sensors and software.
LTU students involved in the effort were BME majors Maryam Alghafli, Fatima Aljafer, Mohammed Al Qahtani, Alexandria Glumb, Norah Hammad, Robert Karas, Corina Malone, Teresa Montes, Daniel Moscoso, and Kevin Ritchey.
Detroit Mercy started the program working with VA hospital clients in 2009. LTU joined the program as a collaborator on the assistive designs in 2014. Supervising the LTU effort is Mansoor Nasir, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.