Within Reach Under 18 Challenge
Video of Project
One of the worst side effects of people having a hand disorder is an inability to do daily tasks. Many people with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome require assistance to complete household activities.
This device offers some freedom back to those victims. Using the cutlery, people with low hand dexterity can still eat independently. This helps people suffering from those diseases return to a normal life.
I started my project by researching the most common problems that people with these diseases face. I visited Credit Valley Hospital where I spoke to a few medical professionals. They were very helpful and answered all of my questions. They told me that some patients could not eat meals without a helper during the whole process. I felt that this was an important problem that I could solve. I wanted to design a system that lets a patient pick up, use, and put away cutlery without any assistance.
I looked up preexisting cutlery for people with this condition. I was especially interested by this product by Patterson Medical. While it is a very innovative and thoughtful design, I felt that there were a few areas for improvement. People can not put on and remove the holder unless they have reasonable hand dexterity. They cannot replace the utensil easily either.
My design solves both of these problems. I started by making some thumbnail sketches that resembled chicken scratch. I decided to make a device that can clip onto the user’s hand. The object would be held in place with friction. There would be no troublesome straps, buttons, or zippers. The user could insert a variety of utensils in the device.
I moved on to the whiteboard. I figured that it would be easy to remove/insert the clip device and cutlery using holders. The user would use one holder to remove/insert the clip device and another to remove/insert cutlery. Both holders could be secured onto a kitchen counter top. Appropriate mounting holes are included in the design.
After I was happy with my rough design, I moved on to CAD. Using Autodesk Inventor, I designed three components: The Hand-Clip, the Clip-Remover, and the Utensil-Remover. While designing, I measured different cutlery sets with my caliper. I wanted to ensure that my Hand-Clip could hold most utensils.
I printed the components at my local library. Please excuse the poor print quality, I get charged by the print time.
I tested my cutlery system, as you can see with the video. I was happy with the results. I felt that it was significantly easier to use my system.
However, I did find some areas of improvement. I added fillets to the utensil entrance to make it easier to insert the utensil. Also, I added a roof to the cutlery holder. The roof improves the robustness of the cutlery holder. I have made a mock roof with foam board on the current 3d printed model. All of these design updates are in the latest CAD files uploaded to this project.
I feel that my cutlery design could make a lot of people’s lives easier. However, anyone's dexterity disorder is different and unique. Therefore, a universal hand tool is not the best option. Instead, people with this condition should have custom hand tools designed and printed for them. I think that this is a better solution, and not just because it would employ a lot of designers ;)