Collaboration with hospital gives MME students chance to design, create
From creating a Pressure Relief Platform and a Pediatric Shower Commode Chair to a Semi-Rigid Multiuse Clamp and Arm, three teams of University of Nebraska-Lincoln mechanical engineering students have been working closely with Chase Pfeifer, assistant research director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Center of Excellence at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. The students got the chance to work at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital to design and create research projects.
* Pressure Relief Platform: the team worked to design a platform for a wheelchair user to roll up on and safely secure to. Individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury or other disease or condition that limits sensation and mobility are at high risk for a pressure injury. Those who lack the strength to perform a pressure relief and are not able to afford a power chair, need someone to tilt their chair for them. The students wanted the platform to have the capability to tilt 35 degrees while preventing the wheelchair from rolling off or toppling. Team members: Jacob Carlson, Brian Cronin, Jake Culey, Kelsey Moss, Alyson Schulte.
* Pediatric Shower Commode Chair: available devices do not always address the need of all patients, leaving some struggling with long-term problems with health and independence. A previous Senior Design Team outlined the design of a more useful base for such a chair. This year, the team built on that outline and constructed a working physical prototype to integrate with a snap-on seat. This shower chair, which fits in a wider range of tubs/showers, allows for tilting and increases accessibility to perineal regions. Team members: Daniel Carlson, Samone Hinsley, Mohamed Hussein, Colby Kubik, Ricardo Villegas Martinez.
* Semi-Rigid Multiuse Clamp and Arm for individuals with limited mobility: the students designed a flexible mounting system that can lock into a more rigid state. It includes a “quick-release” attachment system to allow the mount to be easily removed and attached to different mounting points (e.g., chair, bed, rail). Many individuals with limited mobility need to have different objects mounted on their wheelchair or bed for them to access. If the mount is flexible, the object can be oriented exactly how the person would like. This design can fix the problem of moving the chair and having the mount move as well and having the object oriented incorrectly with the use of more rigid mounts. Team members: James Alishouse, Cody Boche, Michael Marymee, Noah Predoehl.
Madonna has been conducting research with the university since the early 2000’s, supporting students with financial needs, facility needs, and patient and clinicians needs.
“They provide and pay for all the materials. The 3-D printing is a huge thing, and having it in-house here, it’s a lot quicker turnaround,” Kubik said. “Through Madonna, we also get in-person and hands-on patients and clinicians for more immediate feedback.”
All three teams have a chance to positively impact the lives of individuals with disabilities.
“We get the chance to actually go through the process. We met with the clinicians and got an idea of what the (patients) want and need. We actually get to talk to the user a little bit more than most projects would instead of just designing something idealized, we get a real-world application of it,” Carlson said.
The University’s collaboration with Madonna is important to both partners. Students learn from the research they are conducting and gain experience for something they might encounter in the workforce, and Madonna gains the students’ knowledge and projects to help with their patient care.
“Madonna’s relationship with UNL affords students valuable experience in a professional, innovative work place. UNL students, -- medical, engineering, etc. -- bring new ideas and resources to assist Madonna in patient care,” Pfeifer said.
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