A group of biomedical students from the University of Manitoba’s Biomedical Engineering Design (BMED) have created a unique and innovative Wheelchair Hand Warmer device. The BMED team has created this new device to help people living with muscular dystrophy (MD).
For those who are unfamiliar with the disease, Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a group of muscles diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of skeletal muscles. People diagnosed with muscular dystrophy will need to use a wheelchair. Currently, there’s no cure for this disease, but regular medications can help manage symptoms.
How the BMED Team Built the Product:
In building the new device, the BMED team has joined forces with the University Manitoba’s Health Sciences Center. The team’s goal is to develop a product or device that provides timed, fail-safe heat. They wanted it to be comfortable to use and, more importantly, it couldn't restrict the user’s movement.
The Wheelchair Hand Warmer:
The result was a unique and custom Wheelchair-Attachable Hand Warmer device that maintains temperature and allows the safe use of wheelchair products even in an extremely cold environment. The new device features Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform, relay parts, and a fully functional temperature sensor. The device uses the Arduino platform and sensors to regulate temperature and control heat activation.
BMED's Additional Upcoming Projects:
This is not the first time the team has worked on the assistive technology product. The team has already produced an automated assistive technology for the patient with multiple sclerosis, a long-lasting disease that affects the central nervous system. This chronic disease can result in a range of symptoms, including mental and physical damages.
The team’s other works include the EMG Muscle Rehabilitation Project, a research-based collaboration between BMED and the University of Manitoba’s Graduate Biomedical Engineering program. The EMG Muscle Rehab Project was created to support people who have suffered paralysis as a result of a stroke. For more about the Wheelchair Hand Warmer Project, just visit the University of Manitoba’s official website or BMED page.
Image credit: UWW Wheelchair Athletics/Flickr Creative Commons