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Project Examples

Hand Powered Swing for Children with Disabilities

Course: 22.423 - Capstone
Semester: Spring 2007
Instructor: John Duffy
Partner: Village Empowerment Peru Project, and Assistive Technology for one Individual with Disabilities

Partner and Project Description: Village Empowerment Peru Projects: Hand Powered Swing. Three UML students aimed to generate a new rehabilitation method that was both inexpensive and entertaining, as well as to increase effectiveness of physical therapy for use by children in Peru. The team decided to create a playground element and began to develop plans for a rehabilitation swing that uses an input crank to move the legs from a bent position to an extended position. This type of swing can be used for paraplegics and undernourished children with extremely weak limbs. By providing an input crank, most of the force required to lift the legs can be distributed to the arms; and through repeated use, the patient may develop leg strength. The swing also provides a physical activity while maintaining an entertainment element.

Students first developed a computer model in order to assess safety and material selection for the prototype swing. The students conducted a variety of analyses (dynamic, linkage, etc.), then built and tested an actual prototype model of the swing design. A physical therapist assisted with the testing of the prototype. Since the goal was to design a final product for installation in the village of Huarmey, Peru; students further evaluated safety elements and overall weight of the product for shipping. Students plan to continue researching the local needs and markets for such a product.

Community needs met:

  • The swing was installed in the courtyard of a school for special needs children and for children of a volunteer clinic for children with disabilities in Huarmey, Ancash, Peru. (photo below)