Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Makeathon Reflection – Mohammed Faiz Patangia

Participating in the Make-a-thon was a great experience, and it was fun to work on a product that would help someone. The name of my team was 3D-Balance, and we worked on creating a product that would provide additional balance to the people. We had a mentor, Jenna, who has a prosthetic leg, and because of that it is very difficult for her stand on that prosthetic leg. Prosthetic leg is not strong enough to handle wait of her body, and she also has trouble balancing herself through that leg. Also, because of that problem, she has trouble doing yoga. In yoga, balancing the body is a huge part, and because of prosthetic leg she was not able to do that. We worked on solving that problem.

For our first prototype, we designed a prosthetic leg that would provide some extra balance. The base of that redesigned prosthetic was circular and there would be a rod from that base, which would get attached to the upper part of the prosthetic. This entire product would provide additional balance, because of circular base, and to would not allow the user to have lateral motion, which would prevent user from loosing balance or falling. 

First Prototype

The problem with this prototype was that there would not be anything that would allow the user from restricting the motion. Even if there would be a slight fluctuation in the movement, the user may fall in backward or forward direction. The rod may be all the way in horizontal direction, because there is nothing that is stopping it, and user may fall. We though that we need something that would restrict the movement of the rod, and do that so that the user can control it.

For the second prototype, we worked on something that would restrict the movement of the rod. There was a lot of thought process that went into this, because the task was very challenging; we were thinking about adding the control without any electronics into the product. For this prototype, we had many different ideas and approaches, but at the end, we settled on one design. 

Different Designs

Prototype 2

In this prototype, we added some extra hinges that would get attached to the rode. We used parallelogram logic to design this prototype. This design would allow the rod to move in forward and backward direction. We added two supports to the bottom two parts of the parallelogram structure. The two supports would be made of flexible material, and the they would bend as the rod moves, and they would allow the rod to be back at the initial position; they would work like springs. The base would be the same bas from the first prototype. This design would restrict the movement of the rod, and it would prevent the user from falling. The problem with this design was that it was difficult to create the flexible material. We also started to think in a different direction. We thought that the person, with a prosthetic leg, already has a prosthetic leg, and we may not need to give them entire new leg, but just some supports to it. With prototype 2, they would need to carry the entire thing around every time, while going to gym, doing yoga, etc. For the third prototype, we thought about developing a product that would be an attachments to the existing prosthetic. 

For prototype 3, we designed a product that would attach to the prosthetic, like a sandal. We thought that if it would have a tripod kind of structure then it would give more balancing support to the leg. Our idea was that he could also this product for the elderly people, who have problem balancing themselves, most of the times in bathroom. Instead of 3D printing the design, we laser cut the wood, and then added belts to create a sandal like a structure. We also added some material at the bottom so that it creates more friction with the floor. The idea was to apply compliant mechanics to the product, so that the entire attachment could fold and unfold, when the user needs extra support. 


Final Product

Increasing friction of the base


Participating in make-a-thon was a great experience, and I learned through the process and peers. It was also great that we came up something useful, and something that would help others. I enjoyed the entire experience.

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