A project log for Antigravity Arm Floats

Wheelchair mounted orthoses to enable someone with very low muscle tone to move her arms without the encumbrances of gravity

mike-turveyMike Turvey 10/10/2016 at 11:260 Comments

As I've designed and built the arm floats, I've tried to keep in mind not only how well it works for my daughter, but how it would work for someone else. I'd much rather build something that is useful to many rather than something useful to only one.

One of the things that I've considered frequently is that this is a wheelchair mounted device. But I expect there are many folks with low tone in their arms who would never need or use a wheelchair. How would they be able to benefit?

Pictured above is a chest and torso brace. I believe it's a polypropylene sheet that's been heated up and molded around a cast. It was made by a professional orthotist. I can envision that the arm floats could be mounted to such a brace fairly easily. Care would have to be taken to ensure that the mounting hardware didn't rub or press against the skin, but that should be fairly simple. In short, it seems that the arm floats could be used by an ambulatory individual with minimal modification.

The length of the Z-Bars is also a fairly easy thing to modify. I've already modified these once to be longer, and it would be trivial to make other lengths.

Changing the number of links of chain for either the shoulder or the elbow would be another trivial change to make. Just print an extra part! As my daughter has grown since originally designing this, I'm starting to think that an extra shoulder chain link might be needed.

And, lastly, since this entire project is open, feel free to modify and use it in any way that you see fit! I'd appreciate hearing from you if you do, but there's no obligation.