Ergonomic Design of Treatment Tools for Physical Therapists

About: The BCAMRL is a Mechatronics Research Lab, founded in 2014 on the campus of Bergen County Academies, a magnet high school within the Bergen County Technical School District. Students create innovations base...

The purpose of massages are to relax the tissue, increase the flow of blood and oxygen to muscles and decrease overall muscle pain in certain areas. Deep tissue massage, is a method in which deep finger pressure is applied to areas where muscles are tight and need to be loosened. This method of massage ultimately relieves muscle tension, stimulates blood flow, and lowers psychological stress. Areas such as the neck, shoulders, lower back and other body parts prone to muscle tension can be treated with deep tissue massage. However, Deep tissue massage requires a lot of pressure to be placed on to the patient, by the masseur, usually using thumbs, forearms, or the elbow, for an effective treatment. Applying pressure with those parts of the arm, can be either awkward, straining, or both to the masseur or the physical therapist. These massage sessions, last from 45 - 60 minutes, requiring specialists to endure the strain on their arms and fingers, ultimately hindering their massage treatment and causing pain in their fingers and arms. This device is expected to relieve strain on the user’s fingers and forearms while also giving an effective deep tissue massage. Strength from the biceps/triceps area should be used when applying pressure to avoid strains and awkward positions for the fingers, thumbs and forearms.

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Step 1: Obtain Materials

  • Clay
  • Liquid Plastic
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Body Filler
  • Spray Paint
  • Strong plastic
  • Massage Wheels
  • Plexi-Glass
  • Batteries & Battery Clip
  • Vibration Motor
  • Infrared LED
  • Wires
  • Screws
  • Hot glue
  • Drill & Drill bits
  • Plastic Cutters
  • Duct tape
  • Sandpaper / Dremel
  • Solder / Solder Iron

Step 2: Creating the Mouse

  1. Create clay model of the ergonomic mouse
    • Use clay to create mold a mouse
      • Ensure that it is comfortable for your hand, doesn't have to be exact design shown above
    • Create a mold of the ergonomic mouse
      • Create a cardboard box with duct tape
      • Spray cooking on over the clay model and the box interior place
      • Place the clay model in the center of the box
      • Apply the Plaster of Paris in the box and wait 24 hours to dry
    • Remove the clay model from the new mold
      • Use a saw to cut through the plaster of paris
        • Make sure it is very clean and neat and straight
      • Remove the clay model from the mold
      • Use extra clay to fill in air bubbles and to adjust the mold as necessary
      • Use Duct Tape to attach the two mold pieces together and use clay again to close the crack when the mold was cut
    • Add Liquid Plastic to create the Cast of the mouse
      • Mix Liquids A and B proportionally and poor in to the mold
      • Rotate the mold around so that the liquid reaches every portion of the mold
      • Let it dry for 15 minutes
      • Repeat 3-5 times to create a thick layer
      • Let it dry for 24 hours
    • Remove the Cast from the Mold
      • Using a saw again and a hammer carefully remove the cast from the mold
      • Submerge in water to remove any excess Plaster of Paris and clay
    • Cleaning the mouse and smoothing the surface
      • Use a toothpick or any other semi-sharp object to pick off the excess clay and Plaster of Paris on the cast
      • Use sandpaper and a dremel to smooth the surface
        • Be careful with the dremel. It can sand it quickly but too much is not good
      • Add Body Filler to rough areas that are indented into the cast
        • Again, Use Sandpaper and a dremel to smooth the surface.
    • Spray Paint the mouse.
      • Use any preferred color.
      • The prototype is painted with a "Metallic Paint & Primer in One" spray paint
        • Recommended as it hides some imperfections of the surface
    • Add a Liquid plastic on the bottom and top portions of the mouse
      • This is so for screwing the base on at a later time

    Step 3: Installing the Massaging Wheels/Base

    1. Create the plastic base for the mouse (plastic lid for the opening of the mouse)
      • Outline the shape of the mouse base on Plexiglas with a sharpie
      • Cut out the base with an angle cutter (or any cutter that is capable of making clean cuts)
    2. Purchase a manual massaging wheels in the form of a wheel and axle.
      • There are many different products (see pictures above)
    3. Modifying the mouse base
      • Cut out one part of the massage wheels off (2 wheels, an axle, and a base ) (As seen is picture above)
      • Measure the length of the massage wheels. Draw rectangles on the mouse base where the wheels will be placed. Leave sufficient room between the rectangles to screw threw the plastic into the base of the massage wheels.
      • Cut out the rectangles with an angular cutter
    4. Attaching the massage wheels to the mouse base
      • Use a drill bit where you will screw the massage wheel base and the plastic base
      • Screw together the massage base and the mouse base through the space between the rectangles
    5. Attach it to the mouse
      • The top and bottom portions of the mouse is where you will screw the mouse base to the actual mouse
      • Use the appropriate drill bit to create small holes to prevent cracking
      • Use two screws to hold the mouse base and the actual mouse together.

    Step 4: Infrared Circuit

    1. Mark the holes in which the LEDs will be placed
      • Mark holes evenly throughout
      • Test to make sure the walls don't block the LED leads
    2. Find the right drill bit size to puncture holes through the base
      • Take a sample of Plexiglass
      • Test different drill bit sizes to test which is best for the LED Size
    3. Drill through the marked areas of the base of the mouse
    4. Position the LEDs in the correct posigion
      • Position the Infrared LEDs so that the positive and negative leads line up together (see picture above)
      • Use a visible light LED for on and off indicator (optional)
    5. Hot glue the LEDs onto the base
      • You may have to bend the leads to be able to hot glue
      • Be careful not to ruin the the +/- leads and not to break the leads
      • After gluing, carefully bend the leads in one direction so that each corresponding lead (+ to + | - to -) are touching. (if they are to far apart a jumper will be necessary
    6. Solder the LED
      • Solder the corresponding leads together. Use jumper cables if necessary
      • At the end of each row connect the positive row with the next positive row and negative row with the next negative row. (See picture above)
      • We are creating a parallel circuit
    7. Solder the switch and battery
      • Solder the corresponding positive and negative wires from the switch to the battery clip (3V battery clip)
      • Solder the corresponding positive and negative wires from the battery clip to the LED circuit
    8. Test the circuit
      • Insert a 3 Volt battery into the clip and switch it on.
      • Indicator LED should light up if you installed it.
      • Use a smart phone camera. It should be able to detect infrared waves
      • If all the LED light up when it is on, the circuit works.

    Step 5: Vibration Motor Circuit

    1. Create a series circuit between a 9V battery and a motor using a switch
      • Solder the Battery's cathode to the Motor's anode
      • Solder the Motor's cathode to the switch
      • Solder the the Battery's anode to the switch
    2. Test the the circuit
      • Turn the switch on to see if the motor vibrates.

    Step 6: Planning the Components

    1. Make sure that the plastic base (now with Infrared LED and massage wheels installed) fits on to the mouse
      • LED leads should comfortably fit with in the mouse
      • Battery clip should be placed in the mouse
    2. Find a location in the mouse to place the vibration motor.
      • Vibration is created when the motor unevenly spins a outer "knob"
      • The knob should be able to spin without bumping into any walls.
      • Battery clip should be placed in the mouse
    3. After planning where each component (LED component, motors, switches, batteries)
      • Plan a place where you would like the two switches to be.
      • Consider the following
        • Inside components such as the wheels, LED, battery, motors, wires etc.
        • Where the user will place his or hands
      • Mark the place where you would to place the two switches
    4. Find the right drill bit size for the switch
      • Similar to finding the drill bit size for the LED use a sample Plexiglass and test which drill bit creates a hole for the switch
    5. Drill a hole for the switch where it was marked

    Step 7: Install the Components

    1. Install the motor
      • Use hot glue to keep them motor in place
      • Place in the location you planned earlier (Doesn't touch any walls)
    2. Install the motor switch
      • Place hot glue in the hole for the switch
      • Insert the switch into the hole
      • Let the hot glue dry
    3. Hot glue the motor battery so it doesn't move around
    4. Install the LED switch
      • Look at Step 2
    5. Glue the switch battery so it doesn't move around
    6. Finally, screw the base into the mouse
      • Two holes should have been made previously in the base and the mouse
      • Hold them together with a screw

    Step 8: Supporting Documentation

    Documentation on the prototyping of innovation.

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