Introduction: Assistive Dining Device (Arm Sling)
Runner Up in the
Humana Health by Design Contest
This is an instruction on how to make an assistive dining device for people with limited or no arm strength (such as Muscular Dystrophy or ALS) but still have hand movement. The assistive device (Schleeder) is designed to work with spoon and bowl (so only limited to soup or stew). The instruction is created for Occupational Therapist or those whose loved one may be benefited from this device.
This is an on-going prototype. It may not work for everyone. It is intended to Make and use this device at your own risk.
This is part of the Medical & Assistive Device design project in the spring of 2010 at the Emily Carr University (Vancouver, BC). My project was aimed to help people living with limited or no arm strength to gain some dining independence. I hope to get feedback from users so that the device can be improved upon.
Step 1: Ingredient
*Sources based in Vancouver, BC
1) Seat Belt Webbing - 1 to 2 M, from Mountain Equipment Coop (www.mec.ca).
2) Velcro Tape - from Fabricland (www.fabricland.ca/).
3) Fabric for tabs - I picked polyester for ease of cleaning.
4) Heavy Weight Thread - to sew Velcro and tabs to the webbing.
Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once
To determine how much seat belt webbing you need:
1) Have the user sitting at the dining chair.
2) Measure from the corner of the chair* (see photo), over the user’s shoulder, to the wrist at table height PLUS the circumference of the wrist (See photo, shown user with wrist brace).
3) Add 10-20 cm to the measurement,
4) Cut webbing to length.
*Not compatible with chairs with solid backs.
Step 3: Adding Velcro
1) Mark one end of webbing for wrist, and the other end for chair
2) Cut Velcro and tape them on webbing (see photo)
3) Make sure the “male” & “female” Velcro are on the same side of the webbing,
4) Also make sure that they can make contact while allowing the webbing to loop the wrist and chair.
TIP: Cut longer Velcro strips so that the sling can be adjustable.
Step 4: Adding Tabs
I picked red for my tabs to help indicate the edges of the slings. Feel free to use other colours and materials for yours.
Step 5: Add Stitchings
Add stitchings to the Velcro Strips to keep them from peeling off the seatbelt webbing.
Step 6: How to Use
1) Have the user sit at the dining chair at the table.
2) Wrap the "arm" end of the sling around the user's hand/wrist-brace.
3) Cross the sling over the user's shoulder.
4) Wrap the "chair" end of the sling around the top corner of the chair (see illustration).
5) Adjust the Velcro so that the user's arm is slightly higher than the soup bow.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.