In devoting myself to the study and practice of industrial design, I've learned that I have a deep interest in how human beings interact with one another, the objects they use, and the environments they live among. By understanding the fundamental principles of design and design thinking, it allows me to explore a greater breadth of solutions to any problem areas concerning human interaction, ergonomics, sustainability, and quality of life. My goal is it grow as a designer and express my vision in positive ways.
Amputation is the surgical removal of all of, or part of a limb or extremity such as an arm, leg, hand, toe, or finger. The most common type of amputation is a complete or partial lower limb amputation due to vascular diseases such as diabetes and peripheral artery disease. The removal of a limb is traumatic and life changing event, which forces the people involved to make drastic changes in their lives in order to cope with the disability. After a major amputation, the main goal of rehabilitation is to return to as normal a life as possible. A major factor playing against those who have had a lower-limb amputation is their mobility. Partial or total removal of a major supporting limb not only causes disfunction of mobility, but also many physical ailments or relating connective tissue and human ergonomic factors such as: hip displacement, spinal torsion, balance, reduced mobility, pain, and posture. This change causes those with the new disability to adopt new methods of transportation in order to regain mobility without relying on others aiding them. The aim of this project is to develop a product that will improve the mobility of those who have suffered a lower-limb amputation, improving their quality of life and reducing the ailments that come with it. Pacer will take into consideration the current methods and factors involved in the mobility of amputees, and suggest a useful and feasible solution. Those affected by reduced mobility due to lower-limb amputation will be able to efficiently and comfortably enhance their mobility while reducing strain, returning them to optimal mobility performance.
Enhancement of Human Lifestyle
Having an amputation of the lower-limb immediately changes how the human body adapts to and performs everyday tasks, which over time causes incredible strain on a mechanically-compromised system.
The specific adaptations that amputees develop are significant and worth studying because of the health risks that include various musculoskeletal diseases, gait abnormality, hip displacement, residual limb pain, and spinal deformity. Pacer is designed to allow its user to return to complete mobility, allowing them to have better balance during quiet stance and active gait while receiving spatial and balance information from the prosthetic allowing the user to "feel" their leg while walking.
Pacer’s CPU monitors the user’s position and posture, while adjusting in real time to create ‘Sagittal’ and ‘Coronal’ control during periods of both quiet stance and active gait.
Balance is adjusted and monitored at the ankle, knee, hip, and spine. The user’s weight is dispersed evenly and bilaterally through the hips and spine to prevent overloading the residual limb, and by doing so improves their support, balance, and overall control.
Human Factors and Ergonomics
Complete feedback: by utilizing sensors, gyros, electric relays, and haptic pads, the user is able to receive complete and immediate feedback from the prosthesis to the residual limb, travelling to the spine and triggering the stretch reflex mechanism.
The user is able to regain the missing information lost from the amputation that contributes to balance and control. The subsequent cascade of neurological impulses from the pacer to the spine, replicate the sensation of a functioning lower limb. Suspended Socket: Enhanced performance is achieved by using a suspended, open-faced socket within an open housing, enabling superior comfort, breathability, and control. Users can experience longer working times along with reduced fatigue and improved mobility and control.
Pacer makes use of the materials that have the highest potential to improve the lifespan through enhanced durability and sustainable manufacturing initiatives - including the osteoconductive artificial bone, Calcium Phosphate, which is biodegradable, self-healing, and durable.