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IDEAS BEHIND THE PROJECT "MOBILITY SUPPORT (MOSU)
Contacts in the USA and Mexico resulted in the challenge to overcome some of the shortcomings of the usual wheelchair through the research approach of Demotech.
- The concept "wheelchair" should be replaced by the concept of a more extended support of the mobility of people with a handicap, for example, people with a paraplegia.
- Aids within this concept should be made available within the informal economy of poor regions. Local production for local prices makes these aids more widely available.
THE RESULT IN MIND
- The user of the MOSU is offered an improved horizontal mobility. Climbing and descending running over soft and uneven surfaces and taking small obstacles, such as thresholds, is facilitated by a indirect driving mechanism in the front wheels.
- The user of the MOSU is offered also vertical mobility. There is a mechanical support from standing through sitting and sitting on the floor. In effect a vertical mobility from floor level to eighty centimeters height of the centre of gravity of the user of the MOSU.
- The user of the MOSU should not be restricted in the use of a normal toilet, either with a toilet slap or a toilet pot.
- The user of the MOSU can independently change the position of the upper and lower body.
- The user of the MOSU is provided with provisions to insure blood circulation through all parts of the body.
- The user of the MOSU can eventually propel itself a speed higher than that of walking speed.
- The MOSU can eventually be constructed in a way that it is light in weight and compactly foldable.
POTENTIAL WAYS FOR SHAPING THE MOSU
Following ideas are a reconnaissance into the problem area. These suggestions seems to fulfill the demands and seem to be realizable. Following ideas do not claim to give a final direction for the design research.
- MOSU-2, two wheeler.
Principal of locomotion is that of "langlaufen". In effect the transfer of hand movement towards the ground by means of 2 sticks. The principle of steering is the way it works with a skateboard: tilting the board to a side makes the front weels turn in and rear wheel turn out. This principle had also been used for increasing one's mobility in an invention of mr Cohen, living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He constructed a saddle supported by two small wheels. When turning the saddle with the movement of his hips, the front wheel would turn inwards, while the rear wheel turned outwards. The saddle that supported his body weight could so make a tight turn around one of his feet. This gave him an amazing mobility around the objects in his house. Out in the street, he could reach a good walking speed by swaying his legs while aiding his balance with a walking stick. His mobility was amazing, as he himself was not able to support the weight of his body at all. This aid is further promoted by the foundation "Staand-Rollend" (Standing-Rolling).
Demotech made a research prototype from wood (rattan), in size adjusted to a child of about 10 years. It got its balance as with bicycles.
- MOSU-3, three wheeler
A research model is based on an existing reclining tricycle, on which a number of adaptations are tried out. The tricycle is propelled by a crank mechanism activated by the hands through levers and intermediate rods. The steering, braking and adjustment of gears is done through the hand grips at the end of the levers. The MOSU-3 will be a kind of sportive vehicle with which relatively high speed can be attained.
- MOSU-4, four wheeler
Principal of locomotion: the front wheels are driven through a lever mechanism activated by cranks. The energy conversion per wheel can be made optimal with regard to gear ratio, position and movement pattern of the hands of the driver. Steering is done with hand grips on the drive levers, but activate the real wheels.
The MOSU-4 should offer some sort of vertical mobility of the user. For that purpose the user is NOT seated in a normal way as in a wheelchair. In stead of, the body is supported by reinforced underwear. Attached to this under-wear at appropriate places are connecting points to levers. These levers are balanced by springs with the body weight of the user (comparable to the construction of the well known lampshade.
Without force, but controlled by the arms user can bring the centre of gravity of the body at any desired lever from floor level and table level the body can be cantilevered around the centre of gravity forward and backward. This provision has the following potential:
- The user can seat himself on a normal chair or couch by backing up his MOSU-4 till it is positioned above the chair or couch. This becomes possible by placing a crossbeam fully forwards allowing the real wheels to roll around or under the legs of the seat or couch.
- Possibility 1 implies unrestricted use of the toilet, whether a toilet slap or a toilet pot. In this case the supporting underwear and the upper clothes are made in a way that the strip between the legs can be easily removed and attached. Because of the bad functioning of the intestines and the bladder of patients with paraplegia, this provision is needed anyway.
- Lying on a bed either high or low, the user can hook on to the support construction of the MOSU-4. By activating the spring balance the user can bring himself in a vertical of sitting position.
The MOSU is a further development of:
- A three wheeled vehicle developed and produced by the project Prohimo in Mexico;
- Support of the body as described in the thesis of dr.M. Hopman "Paraplegia and Exercise".
- A research vehicle of Demotech for the MOSU-3;
- Support of the body as described in the thesis of dr. M. Hopman "Paraplegia and Exercise".
The following organizations or private individuals have expressed interest in the above ideas:
- Proyecto PROJIMO / San Ignacio / Martin Reyes.
- Ref. Project description "Project PROJIMO" and "Newsletters from the Sierra Madres".
- Hesperian Foundation / David Werner (author "Where there is no doctor").
- Ralph Hotchkiss (Appropriate Technology International) / Stanford University, author "Independence through Mobility". Ralph Hotchkiss (he is a paraplegia patient himself) designs wheelchairs to be constructed in workshops in third world countries. He initiates and supports such projects.
Project SEVA-IN-ACTION / Mrs. Indumathi Rao / Bangalore.
The project area consisting of 120 impoverished small villages, care for handicapped is integrated with initiatives for a more general directed development.
THE EXECUTION OF THE PROJECT
- Demotech gives an initial shape to the design ideas by the making of a first range of prototypes and/or mock-ups. Supported with drawings, models and a video that demonstrate that indicate the use of the prototypes, the project is made accessible for the project-partners.
- Demotech probes the interest for participation with the mentioned and other possible partners and eventually redefines the project.
- The decisions around the financial support of the project can now be taken.
- The project evaluates the experience from phase 6.2. It formulates sub-projects suitable for students of the high vocational and academic education and by project participants abroad.
- Integration and use of the partial results from phase 6.4 by the project partner. Evaluation of the results is the basis for the continuation of the project.
FINANCE OF THE PROJECT
- Finance is sought for speeding up project development as described under 6.1 and 6.2. This financial contribution relates to around 600 hours workshop time for building of prototypes. Adding up to travel expenses for contacting the project partners.
- Initiating and guidance of the part of the project as described under 6.4 and 6.5, comprises the main part of the project. The budget for this case is indicated, but can be better calculated after phase 6.2.