One of the most common disabilities faced by the elder generation is arthritis, including conditions that affect joints and tendons, especially in the hands. From 2013 to 2015, about 54.4 million adults in the United States were diagnosed with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia. For many of these adults, the joint pain that comes with such illnesses can be unbearable. Although exercise helps, it is nearly impossible to do because of the inflamed and pained joints. Infrared Light Therapy is a proven treatment of joint pain; IR light energy promotes the release of nitric oxide, which enhances blood flow- allowing oxygen and other nutrients to reach the joints. The Infrared Red Therapy Device for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients uses infrared light therapy to alleviate common symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. The IRTD is a dome-shaped device with hand imprints (where users place their hands). In each "finger" of the imprints, two IR LEDs (one for the thumb indents) and one red LED have been inserted into the device. These LEDs are connected in series, and each finger is a branch in one overall parallel circuit. Using just 5V, the IRTD lights up and provides the infrared therapy that is only available as a lamp commercially.
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Step 1: Parts List
- Clay (for quick model)
- Quick Dry Rubber (for hard model)
- Plastic (for resin model)
- Resin (for actual model)
- 18 940 nm Infrared LEDs
- 10 Red LEDs Breadboard
- Assorted Male to Female Wires (4 colors)
- Red/Black Wires
Step 2: Planning and Research
At first, the model was intended to be a box with multiple layers, but it eventually was agreed upon to have the physical model be circular for more comfort for the user. Furthermore, I originally intended for the treatment to be physically applied through rotating servos (almost as if the machine was giving the user a massage on the joints). It was then decided that the innovation would utilize a new method of arthritis treatment: infrared light therapy, which makes the model more effective and less bulky.
Step 3: Physical Model- Clay, Rubber, Plastic
First, I created a large dome shape out of clay. Then I used a scooping tool to scrape out clay from the dome so that two handprints would be created. After smoothing over the clay model, we painted the model with rubber resin, and a plastic model was developed out of that rubber resin.
Step 4: Physical Model- Resin
The plastic model could be used for as many final models as we wanted, so if you plan to make more than one the plastic model is essential. After that, I filled in layers of resin and swirled them around in the plastic model until they hardened. The resin model is what we finally used for the innovation.
Step 5: Physical Model- Fixing Aberrations
We then filled in the aberrations with wood filler, sanded down the rough edges, and secured a loop of plastic on the bottom for balance. Finally, the resin model was spray painted for aesthetic, and the completely physical steps were finished.
Step 6: Electronics Physical Preparation
First, we drilled one hole in each thumb and two holes in every other finger slot to put the IR LEDs. The IR LEDs were inserted and capped to keep them in place, and soldered into ten different branches (where each branch consisted of a finger). When soldering, the anode of one LED would be soldered to the cathode of the other LED. Then, the red LEDs were inserted. These were used to show that the model was operational without using a camera to detect if the IR LEDs were on. A hole was drilled at the base of every finger, and a small red LED was glued in with silicon.
Step 7: Electronics- Breadboard
The circuit was first tested out on a breadboard. 5V were applied to a parallel circuit with 10 branches (one for each finger). Within each branch were two infrared LEDs and one red LED (to show that the circuit was working). In order to test the IR LEDs and make sure they are working, one can turn on the circuit and use a phone to look at the LEDs. If there is a purple glow inside each LED, then they are functional.
Step 8: Electronics- Real Model
After confirming that the intended circuit is functional, I placed a breadboard inside the model. For each finger, this was the process: First, a male to female wire connected the cathode of a red LED was inserted into the row that would be connected to the 5V supplier. Current would flow through the red LED from the cathode to the anode, and another male to female wire was connected to the anode of the red LED and inserted into a spot in row A. Then, in the same column, the red wire soldered to the cathode of the first IR LED of the finger was inserted in row E. The current would then flow through both IR LEDs and out the anode of the second IR LED through the soldered black wire. The black wire was then inserted into the the row that would be connected to ground. After doing this circuit for each finger, one red wire would be placed in the row intended for the 5V supplier and attached at the other end to one metal end of the switch. Then a separate red wire would connect to the switch and the 5V power supplier. A hole was drilled in an area of the model unoccupied by hand indentations, and the switch was pushed through. A separate black wire was connected on one end to the row intended for ground and to the ground of the power supplier on the other end.
Step 9: Finishing the Model
Finally, all the circuitry was finished, and a plastic base was added to the bottom to ensure no wires would fall out. A hole was drilled to allow the red and black wires to attach to the power source. The IR Therapy Device is now complete!