Innovative Rehabilitation Products Developed by Mechanical Engineering Students
The Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center in Raanana, part of the Clalit Group, will integrate the use of innovative rehabilitation products developed by Mechanical Engineering students at the Ashdod campus especially for rehabilitation patients. The vital devices will improve the quality of life of individuals undergoing rehabilitation recovery processes.
As part of the collaboration between the Medical Center and the SCE, the students were asked to plan and manufacture products that combine rehabilitation exercises with a game element in order to make the rehabilitation process more enjoyable. The results were presented to representatives of the Medical Center at the SCE departmental projects conference, among them Mr. Nachman Plotnizky, Head of the MehaThala Center for Adaptive Technologies at the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center, who decided to include the products in occupational therapy treatments.
The products which the students developed and will be used by the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center:
Band Board - A round 60-cm diameter board that includes an adjustable stand with a set of bands in different colors and with different resistance levels. The board also comes with a set of designed cards with a series of varied shapes of different difficulty levels. The board enables numerous rehabilitation activities for developing the cognitive skills and imagination of patients undergoing rehabilitation, as well as for developing motor skills and spatial vision.
Rehabilitation Maze - a device inspired by a racing steering wheel and maze games. The objective: bring the ball to the middle of the board by moving the wrists and elbows. The device helps exercise fine motor skills and cognitive skills in occupational therapy, and is intended for persons 13 years of age and above suffering from wrist and elbow problems.
Goalie Pinball - a rehabilitation game that combines familiar elements from pinball and foosball games. The objective is to exercise various cognitive skills and motor activity, working with both hands symmetrically on shoulder, elbow and wrist movements as well as on grasp strength. The board game includes 4 different color balls – red, blue, green and yellow – a goalkeeper controlled by a handle held by the player, static and dynamic obstacles in different forms, 4 gates in the same colors as the balls and a spring mechanism for launching a new ball. Stretching the spring launches a new ball from the top of the board, while the game board incline sends the ball down towards the player and the gates. The player must use the player handle in order to thrust the ball so that it only passes through the gate which is the same color as the ball, while navigating the various obstacles spread on the game board.
Sounds and Colors - a game intended to help persons with hand motor difficulties, combined with a game to move the body. The product was produced using 3D printing technology using PLA material and is built from a symmetrical frame suitable for both hands. The product is a cognitive tool that combines motor activity with thinking and cognition by means of a memory game that combines light and sound. When the game is activated the lights go on in random order, with a different sound heard for each different color light bulb. The player must then repeat the same sequence of lights by pulling the same-color finger handles in the correct order.
Jingle Bells - the device is designed to exercise the arm bicep and tricep muscles, while at the same time arousing interest and adding depth to the patient’s rehabilitation and physical challenge. The device is built in the shape of a sound box that is hung on the wall and hides the mechanism. On the outside we see eight handles and ropes, with each handle responsible for producing a different sound from among the eight tones. This is created by a weight connected to each handle with a string, that hits a bell when pulled. The device turns sisyphic hand exercises into a musical game that enables patients to play a melody displayed on cards that are prepared in advance.
The Flying Ball – a physiotherapy device designed to add interest during wrist treatment and exercises. This is achieved by combining a mechanism which converts the patient’s wrist movement into an air current by means of a bellow. The patient can see the air current streamed through a transparent pipe which causes the buoyancy of a lightweight ball, based on the physical effect known as the Coanda effect - the phenomenon of a jet flow that stays attached to a convex surface. The ball remains in the air as long as the patient continues to operate the device.
According to Avihai Shurin, Head of the Product Planning and Design track in the Mechanical Engineering department on the Ashdod campus, “these are vital devices and products that will considerably improve the quality of life of persons who need rehabilitative recovery processes. The multi-disciplinary training we provide our students in the Mechanical Engineering department, and in general at the College, gives them a significant advantage in planning and developing innovative products for the good of the public. I am glad that Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center management found the products we developed for them to be beneficial, and I am primarily proud that these products will actually be transferred for use and rehabilitation of people who really need them.”
SCE Rector, Prof. Jehuda Haddad, noted: “SCE students bring knowledge and high-level engineering abilities, but mainly creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. The teaching method implemented at the College, known as “Project Oriented”, focuses on studies alongside practical experience and real tasks in the engineering world. This provides our students with actual experience in the employment world, and as a consequence to develop quality products and devices that benefit the public, alongside social undertaking and contribution to the community.”
Nachman Plotnizky, Head of the MehaThala Center for Adaptive Technologies at the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center, said: “I thank the SCE instructor staff and Mechanical Engineering students on the Ashdod campus for undertaking the challenges presented to them. The products that were developed demonstrate the students’ creativity and professionalism. Integrating the six projects into the occupational therapy rooms will undoubtedly significantly contribute to the rehabilitation process. In the course of the past year we met on the Ashdod campus, and I was very impressed with the students and the instructors, with the seriousness and professionalism they demonstrated. Thank you.”
(Photography: Loewenstein Rehabilitation Medical Center Spokesperson’s Office)