Category Archives: custom equipment

A customised joystick for wheelchair driving

Les has been known to the service for years and needs specially adapted joysticks to drive his wheelchair. Les had been using a mushroom shaped joystick but found that his muscle spasms caused his grip to tighten and he couldn’t release it quickly when he needed to. To try and get over this problem, we tried a cone shaped joystick. Les could release this easily but it was harder for him to grasp quickly.
Crossing the road at a pelican crossing was a real problem because you don’t get a green man for long so you need to be able to get going quickly. One of our Clinical Scientists, Zoe, came up with the idea of a bowl shaped joystick which meant Les could get his hand in quickly to start driving but could also remove his hand easily to stop driving. As you can see he still had enough control for accurate manoeuvring.
Michael, our Mechanical Technologist, was able to make and attach this and after a few tweaks, spray painting and altering the position, here is the end result.

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IPEM Integrated Access for Assistive Technology – York 25th Jan 2013

IPEM – Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine hosted a study day on Integrated Access for Assistive Technology. Integrated Electronic Assistive Technology (eAT) can be a combination that enables access to an environmental control system, communication aid, a computer and/or powered mobility.

Our team has many years of experience in providing integrated eAT. At the meeting I represented the Barnsley AT Team, initially providing an overview of some of the commercially available integration options we have employed over the previous 10 years. Then the focus shifted to our custom made microprocessor based Integrators designed and constructed by our Electronics Engineer, Graham. A typical application for our custom integrator is for an individual who can operate a single switch but needs to be able to access more than one device or function. One example being an integrator that allows the user to choose if the switch operates their environmental control or turn a page of their ebook forward or backward.

See the draft programme – Integrated Access for AT Programme

and my presentation – The Challenges of Integrating Complex Electronic Assistive Technology

In brief, a worthwhile study day by seeing what other departments are up to and encouraging that there was interest in our work, especially the custom made integrator.

Picking things up…

Some people find it difficult to pick things up and put them down without dropping them because of severe tremors or other difficulties in moving their arms.

This was the case for one of our clients a while back and so we (well, Michael, our very talented mechanical engineer and clinical technologist) made a special mounting system for him.

This mount allows him to put his environmental controller in and out of a mounting cradle without dropping it and without any fiddly clips or brackets. The mount uses magnets to lock the device firmly in place when in use but, with a twist, it will easily release. The client uses this device to control his telephone and can now transfer it between his manual wheelchair and desk or sofa independently.

You can watch a video about this mounting system on our YouTube channel.