Noninvasive IR Therapy Wand for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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...

Rheumatoid arthritis affects nearly 1.5 million people in the United States alone, and continues to spread to both men, and women. The disease affects mobility, due to the inflammation of the joints. The disease affects the synovial tissue (in the joint) which swells, making movement painful and difficult. This project targets rheumatoid arthritis, and helps to ease the pain and treat the affected area with the help of Infrared radiation, and vibration without surgical procedures. The treatment will utilize the power of Infrared radiation to target cells, and vibration to release synovial fluid. The most common treatment is to undergo a surgical procedure to cure this disease, but surgery can result in health complications and recovery can be difficult for many older patients, which is the majority of arthritis patients. This infrared treatment uses three infrared bulbs in order to administer the treatment. The bulbs are connected to a circuit, which utilizes a switch. The circuit is nestled in a plastic shell. It will also use a DC vibration module, in order to administer the vibration treatment. It will use three coin batteries for power. There will be two separate switches, one for the light treatment and one for the vibration treatment, so that patients will be able to customize treatments to best suit their needs. This wand aims to alleviate and reduce stress on joints and on the user, improving the user’s quality of life.

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Step 1: Print and Assemble Nozzle

The nozzle was printed, using PLA filament in a 3-d printer. (the attached file was used for this particular project). The nozzle has twelve holes 3/16 of an inch in diameter, and has a large oval cutout in the middle for placement of the rollerball. 12 Infrared LED bulbs were placed into the holes, and secured at the base of each LED with hot glue to the plastic. A roller ball was placed in the oval opening, and secured in place with hot glue.

Step 2: Making the LED Circuit

The LED’s were connected in a parallel circuit, using solder, leaving two ends disconnected.

The LED’s were then connected to the button cell battery holder by soldering together with a wire. Button cell battery holder was connected to a switch, by soldering a wire onto the cell holder, and the switch. Switch was soldered to the other parallel circuit ending from the LED parallel circuit.

Step 3: Making the Vibration Circuit

A nine volt pair battery holder was soldered to a DC motor. DC motor was connected to the switch, and the switch was connected back to the battery holder.

Step 4: Assembly

A plastic case was repurposed from an old utility tool for this project. However, any oblong plastic shell (about 7 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and 1½ inches in height should suffice). It should be similar in shape to a flashlight handle. The case utilized in the project opened in half, revealing two halves of the long sides.

The nozzle was hot glued onto one of the sides, on the top lip of the half-shell. This way, one half of the nozzle was unsupported. When the two halves were shut, the nozzle rested flush with the top lip of the second half of the handle. Two holes were tapped into the bottom left, and right corners of the case. The switches were threaded through the holes, so the switch handles were protruding. The two individual circuits (vibration and LED), were placed in the shells, and secured with hot glue once a position was found where the different components (battery holders, wires, motor) could fit together snugly when the shell was closed. The shell was closed, and sanded lightly. Optional steps including installing rubber grips on the handles for ergonomic support (the repurposed shell had grips already attached).

Step 5: Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation for the design and prototyping of innovation.

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