Every year, 15 million people suffer strokes of which 5 million people develop some type of permanent disability. The fine motor control required for handwriting is often damaged, and the resulting aphasia includes partial paralysis, neurological damage, and tremors. The attachment of a simple assistive device to a writing implement can often give stroke victims the ability to write or draw again, thus greatly improving the quality of their life.
3D printed assistive writing devices change the geometry of the writing instrument in various ways according to individual patient needs.
This project provides a library of 3D printable files for writing utensil holders that can be 3D printed anywhere in the world to assist stroke victims suffering from aphasia. The ubiquity of such devices will improve the quality of life for stroke survivors not only in developed countries, but also developing and poor countries where these devices would not normally be available.
Many people who have aphasia cannot grip a tiny pencil. A common adaptation to a pen, pencil, or artist's paintbrush is to fatten it up to make it easier to grip. This 40mm x 150mm cylinder has a 9mm hole in the middle to hold a standard "Bic" pen. It has a 1/4"-20 hole for a set screw that can be used to secure the pen at the correct depth in the tube. There is a 45 degree angle on the cylinder to allow the patient to steady the holder it against the table if they have tremors.
Some stroke patients can hold onto a ball, but not a regular sized pen. So the solution is to put a ball onto a pen. The large surface area of the ball allows for weak fingers to hold onto the pen. I used tinkercad to create a 50mm sphere with a 9mm pen hole that is offset from the sphere center. There are 2 set screw holes at 3mm each to secure the pen.
I owe this inspiration to someone who suffers from stroke related aphasia. He is a genus trapped inside a body that has some short circuits, and he helps people he meets at the stroke rehab clinic by hand crafting writing pens that conform to their individual disability. Each person has unique needs for the size and placement of things to hold onto when using pens. Some need a round bulbous ball around their pen. Some people need a flat paddle attached. Some require a short stubby pen they can jam into their palm and grip with their fingers. Most people require at least a much larger diameter pen to hold onto. Some needs loops to insert their fingers through to provide additional support. From him, I have learned that everyone's stroke damage and physical physique is unique. He says that store purchased writing aids do not conform well because things need to be individualized to fit in an individual's hand correctly.