Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Successful Results In The Customisation Of Toy Seats For Disabled Children

18.12.2008
Playing helps children to develop their mental, physical and social functions. On the other hand the term ‘discapacity’ means a limitation in the ability to play in some specific field. Taking these concepts into account, the percentage of suitable toys is insufficient, according to a study carried out by AIJU, titled ‘Playing, Toys and Discapacity’1.

This study has shown that only 69% of commercial toys are accessible for children with a hearing discapacity, 27% with a visual discapacity and 18% for motor disability. They have special requirements and the toys need to be adapted for them to play with.

In other specific work of AIJU2, the authors established different recommendations, addressed to the toy manufacturers, for the design and developing of toy vehicles accessible to children with motor disabilities. All those recommendations are general rules for improving the safety and comfort of the children when playing, such as wider belts, higher back rests, bigger footrests, non-slip materials for the seats, push-buttons in different positions, etc. However, the customisation of parts of the vehicle for a unique child was not considered, since this option would be difficult and costly for the manufacturer.

The vehicle seat adaptation to a child’s body geometry is the best solution for most of the cases, as there is an important variety of health problems which lead to body deformation, paralysis or mobility handicap, that are different for each patient. The experience of parents who have disabled children confirm that the customisation of the toy seat could be a vast improvement for facilitating the use of the vehicle to the child, as the results of a survey carried out by AIJU during the project3 and included in the following section reflects.

For this reason, the aim of this work was the customisation of seats for battery powered toy vehicles (like cars and quads) for children with motor disability.

The benefit of personalization by adapting child seats for vehicles must be considered from two important aspects. The first one refers to the user's security. Let us consider a child affected by any kind of incapacity (legs, back) that prevents them from sitting in the same way a child without the disability would. In a customised seat, the child would be more tightly held within the vehicle and consequently would benefit from increased security. The second aspect, directly derived from increased safety/security, is the greater feelings of comfort that will make the child want to play longer. Finally, as the seat is personalised, the subsequent emotional involvement will allow the child to enjoy playing with the vehicle more and more. Paralelly, it creates peace of mind for the children’s tutors/parents

On the technical scope, the improvements in the design of the seat should meet the requirements of the EN 71/1 standard, which are especially relevant for these products, as well as static and dynamic resistance (i.e., the resistance of the seat will be, at least, 50 kg).

Survey for parents with disabled children

With the objective of better knowing the difficulties that real people with motor disabilities have when playing and due to the social affectation the subject has, a survey was carried out in the Custom-Fit project. The answers were received through e-mail, the Custom-Fit website, CEAPAT, Government Organisation for Disabled People in Spain (www.ceapat.com) and Discapnet4 (www.discapnet.es).

The disease profile of the children is included in Figure 1. In the case of Other physical disabilities, Rett syndrome accounted for 67 %. The degree of severity of the diseases of the children in the study was made up of 74 % of children with a serious degree of disease and 26 % with a moderate degree.

The experience of parents who have disabled children confirm that the vehicle seat adaptation to the child’s body geometry could be the best solution for most of the cases. The results included in Figure 2 showed that, although 53% of the respondents had great difficulties in finding appropriate toys for their children and the same percentage had to modify them for their children’s playing use, a more elevated percentage (79 %) of them found it very interesting to customise the toy seat to their children’s disabilities.

When the affection grade is serious, those percentages are even higher, with 86 % considering it very interesting the customisation, 71% having difficulties in finding appropriate toys and 64% having to modify them for their children’s common playing.

Studying Initial Problems

The customisation process of the seats for battery powered toy vehicles carried out within Custom-Fit was specifically developed for a seven year old child whose left leg joints turn through 360° which hinders their attachment to any type of vehicle seat (Figure 3).

He had difficulties when using the original vehicle seat of the selected toy quad bike, as shown in Figure 4. Due to his disability the child slipped towards the left side, his left leg raised and he couldn’t put his foot on the rest foot, leading to very noticeable instability on the toy which was dangerous for him. The child could not play without tight surveillance.

Customisation Process

The customization process is shown in Figure 5. It begins with the geometrical data capture of the child by using a deformable inflatable cushion on the toy seat (Figure 5.1). After sitting on the cushion the child’s body shape and support points are firmly embedded onto by crating a vacuum inside and the cushion acquired the shape of the child.

By using a 3D laser scanner, several points clouds or meshes are generated from the cushion and transformed to a surface representation (Figure 5.2). The scan is translated into STL format, to be used in following design step.

The design of the external shape of the customised seat was based on the design of the original seat. The upper surface of the standard seat was modified in this case, to adapt it to the shapes according to the upper surface of the cushion, then, the seat was customised to the shapes, according the way that child was seated.

Through Delcam’s advanced 3D modelling system PowerSHAPE form Delcam, using the improved algorithms as a result of the Custom-Fit project, the design of the external shape of the customised seat was carried out by automatic combination of the files for both, the inflatable cushion with disabled child imprint and the original toy seat. A fusion was made between this surface representation and the CAD file of the car seat imported into the system (Figure 14). This produced a single combined digital file (cushion plus seat) representing a completely individualized seat, tailored to the special characteristics of the child (Figure 5.3).

With this information, a first prototype of the seat was manufactured by using conventional selective laser sintering with a polyamide material (Figure 5.4). However, such seats could be manufactured using other project developed technologies such as printing plastic powder (Power Plastic Printing, PPP) as this equipment is capable of printing any kind of thermoplastic, such as PP.

Once the customised seat was manufactured it was attached to the toy quad bike and was validated with the child (Figure 5.5) with relevant results.

Validation Test and Results

A new photographic and video session was performed for the validation of the customised seat with the disabled child. With the customized seat the child fits perfectly onto the seat and is completely supported, reducing the possibility of falling as there was no slipping to either side, as can be appreciated in Figure 6.

Satisfaction was easily measurable in this case by simply observing the interrelation of the child with the toy.

With the customised seat, the child notably improves stability which implies that the quality of their playtime is vastly improved, and therefore the amount of time they spend playing will also increase as he is not afraid now. And as the photographs included in Figure 7 confirm, the child was very satisfied with the new situation and this emotional involvement will allow the child to enjoy playing and give his parents peace of mind as well.

Testing the toy according to EN standards

Some safety tests according to the EN 71 standard of safety of toys were also carried out to verify if this specific toy met the requirements.

The results of the test for case study were sent to the European Committee of Standardisation (CEN/TC52) in order to inform them and provoke reflection regarding products that could suit to specific end users in certain conditions.

Other case studies

Apart from toy vehicle seats, Custom-Fit investigates its application in other consumer goods such as custom seats for motorcycles and helmets for motorcyclists as well as medical products such as prosthesis, jaw implants and knee implants, in which several European companies are involved.

References

1 “Juego, Juguetes y Discapacidad” Costa, M.; Romero, M.; Mallebrera, C. Torres, E.; Fabregat, M.;Martínez, MJ.; Torres, S.; Martínez, P. y Zaragoza, R. Ed: AIJU. Ibi (Alicante) 2007, ISBN: 978-84-922605-6-0 (http://www.aiju.info/publico/pdf/folletoDiscapacidad.pdf)

2 “Guideline of design for the diversity: Development of toys for children with motor disabilities. Recommendations for the design of accessible toy vehicles. Costa, M.; Romero, M. et al. AIJU interim report

3 http://www.custom-fit.org/wp-content/uploads/formulario/formulario1.html
4 http://www.discapnet.es/Discapnet/Castellano/Actualidad/Especiales/
especial_encuesta_padres_juguetes.htm

Sunny Martínez | alfa
Further information:
http://www.aiju.info
http://www.custom-fit.org or contact
http://www.custom-fit.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>