When I fractured my right arm, I realised that handling a SLR camera with a plastered arm wouldn't be possible: the grip is on the right handside and so is the shutter release button.
After 6 weeks, when the plaster came off, my hand and arm were now to weak to handle the camera.
Luckily for me, this was a matter of time. Other people are less fortunate.
This has inspired me to develop an idea that I had during my period of discomfort and to share it with you in the "Health by Design Contest". If you like it, please vote for me!
The idea is simple: a device transfers the weight of the camera to your chest. This makes the handling of the camera very light and very stable (picture below was taken with one hand, shutter speed was 1/3 !).
All you need is some PVC tubing and a special hinge.
This device can help people with a weak arm or hand, but it can be helpful to people with Parkinson to stabilise the camera.
Naturally it can be used for stabilising pocket cameras as well. You can then slim down the design by using smaller (copper) tubing. Moreover, you do not need a hinge as the lens is retracted in the camera.
Step 1: What You Need.
* Two PVC pipes (length 70 mm, diameter 32 mm)
* One PVC pipe (length 170 mm, diameter 32 mm)
* A PVC T-piece that can accomodate the PVC pipes.
* A hinge. In the picture it's the rectangular Aluminium beam that will be cut to shape a hinge.
* A bolt and a nut (50 mm long, 5 mm thread).
Step 2: How It's Made.
Cut slots at the end of both pipes. The width of the slot should correspond with the dimensions of your neckstrap. Cut one end of the longer PVC pipe at 30 degrees.
Make matching slotted end caps.
The hinge has to operate at a 30 degree angle as well. Cut the hinge at this angle. This step can be shortened if one would start with a U-shaped beam (instead of a rectangular beam, but I did not have a U-shaped beam available that fitted nicely over the PVC pipe).
Drill holes on both sides and drill a hole on top for connecting the camera.
Place the hinge on top of the PVC pipe and drill trough the hole.The hinge has to rest flat on top of the pipe.
Step 3: Assembling.
Assemble the T-piece. This picture shows the hinge in one position. From this position it can only rotate clockwise (the other direction is locked).
The width of the base of the T-piece (the part that rests on your chest) should be slightly larger than the width of your camera. In my case: 180 mm.
Picture 2 & 3
T-piece with the hinge in both positions.
Glue the vertical pipe. The other pipes don't have to be glued or at least glue them once you're confident about the set-up. Be aware of the orientation of the slots with respect to the T-piece!
Step 4: How It Works.
Hang the camera around your neck. Bolt the hinge to the camera and place the T-piece between both sides of your neck strap.
In normal operation, the camera hangs around your neck as it normally would and the hinge is "open".
Picture 2 & 3
If you want to take a picture, lift the camera until the weight is supported by your chest. The hinge is now locked in place and your camera should be nicely horizontal. If the camera does not rotate neatly close to your face, adjust the length of your neck strap.