Design of an arm support for a powered lifting aid for caregiversLead: Vid Stiglic
2013-2014 (MSc Project, Completed)
This MSc project looked at the work currently done by caregivers and the state and needs of their clients. Market research looked at the devices currently in use in the caregiving industry and a technology review examined existing exoskeletons, built for various purposes (from rehabilitation to military). Special attention was given to ergonomics of lifting with the envisioned exoskeleton as well as anthropometrics of human arms.
The project was performed by Vid Stiglic at Industrial Design, and is connected to Jack Schorsch‘s PhD project which aims to develop an exoskeleton for the caregiving industry. The idea is to decrease the physical and psychological stress caregivers experience when lifting and manipulating with their clients, while speeding up the caregiving process.
Several concepts were developed through ideation, which all proposed a unique form factor for the exoskeleton arm support. The most suitable concept was selected as the final concept through expert evaluation and mockup testing.
In the embodiment phase, only the lower arm support was detailed in order to narrow
down the scope of the project, which proved to be too wide for such a short project. A prototype of the lower arm support was built and tested with subjects, which included caregivers and naive subjects. Aesthetics, Ergonomics and Usability were looked at.
It was concluded that an effective lower arm support was developed, which solves the majority of the challenges imposed by the Project Assignment and additional findings from the Analysis phase.
The design proposal is not without flaws and additional work is needed to finalize the arm support to its final form, which will be able to be used in the caregiving environment. The challenges and proposed courses were determined and presented as future recommendations for the project.