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Engineering Design for the Disabled

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1 Author(s)

There are some 3 million handicapped persons living in the United States. Can the engineer help these people lead more normal lives? This paper describes some of the solutions obtained by engineering students at Tufts University working under the direction of the author and in collaboration with the Tufts Rehabilitation Institute. Special purpose hardware is described which enables a severely paralyzed person to perform otherwise difficult or impossible tasks. In particular a dynamic hand splint and a 15 channel ON-OFF controller controlled by a unique skin deflection transducer are discussed. Of course, these units provide only a partial solution to the problems of the handicapped. Much remains to be done and colleagues are encouraged to include problems in this area in their design curricula.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 1 )