Massage and exercise are two important components of rehabilitative therapy. Both are performed by therapists at the direction of physicians. However, the benefits depend in part on the skills of the physical therapists and are not entirely repeatable. The therapy is also relatively costly. Electro-mechanical therapy tables have been developed for these procedures but the systems all have severe limitations. This IPRO project will design and develop a computer-controlled bed to perform the massage without the need for a skilled worker. At the same time, there is a need for improving care for people who suffer bed sores and other wounds. This concept has potential value for these populations as well. At the same time, there is a need for improving care for people who suffer bed sores and other wounds. This concept has potential value for these populations as well.
This IPRO project will continue the work of the summer 2016 IPRO 234 team. It is based on a concept developed by the instructors that uses multiple driven actuators that, alone or in unison, can provide repeatable massage to select parts of the body. The concept also accommodates customization to the needs of individual patients at various stages in their rehabilitation.
The project will benefit from 15 to 20 students organized in at least five functional teams: bioengineering, electrical, mechanical, design and fabrication. In addition, business aspects are also important to investigate as the design evolves, including cost competitiveness, competitor analysis, user desirability for multiple applications, and market potential. The team will research the existing solutions to the problem and new enabling technologies. The team will then develop the ergonomic design for the table, the mechanical and electronic hardware needed to provide the therapy and the computer software and hardware to control the system.
At this stage, the IPRO team can especially benefit from (a) electrical and mechanical engineering students to develop and test a viable electro-mechanical design, as well as (b) architecture students to translate user research findings into design requirements and use these requirements to visualize concepts and help to systematically mock up and prototype a design.