When one has cerebral palsy, he or she has a difficulty to move or perform motor skills with body coordination. That includes watching the television, which was proven to be a struggle to Jorge de Almeida from Ottawa.
His condition had left him control the TV remote through his left foot. And because the conventional remote control has tiny buttons, it usually takes five minutes for Jorge to manipulate it with his toes and find his favorite shows, the CSI and the evening news.
Upon knowing the case of Jorge, engineers from the University of Ottawa developed a solution to make watching the television easier for him. They designed a new mountable TV remote, which is the size of a textbook.
The specially-designed remote control has six large buttons for power, volume and channels. It was big enough for the convenience of Jorge to press with his left foot. It’s mounted on an adjustable frame and connects to a table with large C-clamps.
It was built for him using the University of Ottawa’s 3D printer. The cost of the device totaled to $200.
When Jorge was finally able to test the device at the university’s second annual Design Day showcase, two words came out of him: good work. This he said through a chair-mounted keypad that he also controls with his left foot.
Harjot Chahal, one of the 5 young engineers who helped Jorge, have met the man with cerebral palsy to understand the issues he had with his TV remote.
“He was using a basic Rogers Cable TV remote taped to the side of a table — and he was kicking it with his toe,” says Chahal. “Try to imagine it: the buttons were so small, it was crazy. We tried it; we couldn’t do it.”
Jorge figured that the group wanted to help him. He requested to get a remote that was big enough to operate with his foot. And that was a wish granted.
The team garnered the third place overall on Design Day with the TV remote project. They placed first in the accessible designs category.
Source: Ottawa Citizen