Accessible Mount

Mount'n Mover
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The Accessible Mount project was taken up in response to the needs of individuals who not only need their devices in a good position for access, but need to move them. Static mounts were limiting people—keeping them from transferring, from pulling up to a table to eat, from accessing computers; and they presented a visual obstruction for driving and watching the television.

This void in the market was usually filled by expensive one-off custom designs, trials of off-the-shelf solutions with modifications, and improvised solutions fueled by the ingenuity and commitment of parents, family, OTs, rehab engineers and teachers.

The Need

As a Rehab Engineer, Goodwin had devised many custom mounts for communication devices and job accommodations. She proposed the project to the Department of Education’s Small Business Innovation Research program after providing two complex custom systems which provided secure positioning, AND could be repositioned with limited strength and dexterity.

Three cases illustrate the range of needs:

  • A college-bound teenager needed to communicate and use a computer at the same time. She used a speech device, and her school team wanted to maximize her independence to set her up for success post-graduation.
  • A court room transcriptionist experienced repetitive stress injuries from using a tripod-mounted device for decades. He had an ergonomic chair provided, but could not adjust his position. A mount which attached to the chair was devised to allow him ergonomic access as he changed his seat position.
  • An eight year old girl who used a speech device could transfer independently, but NOT with her static mount. The custom system allowed her to transfer to the floor, toilet or other chairs.

Proposed Solution

The proposed accessible mount was to offer people who use wheelchairs improved access to their devices, with the flexibility to reposition it when they need to. For those who are able to use their arms (or feet), they can potentially move it independently—where they want it, when they need it.

The proposed accessible and movable mount would offer the following:

  • Repeatable positioning
  • Securely locks in user-specific positions
  • Customize to lock in user-specific positions
  • Use in more than one position
  • Independent repositioning: unlock and move it when you want
  • Accessible controls: no need for tools or fine motor skills
  • Tool-free adjustments
  • Adjustable tilt
  • Safe to move; moves in horizontal plane
  • Change devices easily and quickly
  • Access to more than one device at a time

Technical Development

The technical development followed our usual process, including:

  • Review of existing technology
  • Iterative prototype development
  • Testing with consumers and AT specialists (over 50 of each!)
  • Design for production
  • Key technical objectives and development areas:

Lock mechanism which:

  • could be set without disassembly
  • would hold even if the person tilted in their wheelchair
  • could be released with accessible controls
  • released with an extraordinary impact (ie running into a door) so as not to damage the mounted device
  • Accessible controls to unlock and adjust positions, including tilt low force to unlock the joints (<2 pounds)
  • no fine motor dexterity required
  • usable with mouthstick
  • 3 distinct actions, with separate controls
  • accessible near the mounted device

Quick Release

  • easily remove a device and change to another securely lock the device on the mount
  • added second lock to deter accidental unlocking

Holding capacity

  • hold up to 15 pounds, fully extended at a recline
  • tilt must be unlocked to change the tilt angle

Wheelchair attachment

  • Series of attachment plates
  • Attach to the most popular wheelchairs
  • Allow removal, without tools
  • Wheelchair bracket should allow easy height adjustment

Device attachment

  • Change easily, using Quick Release plate
  • Series of attachment plates
  • Attach to the most popular speech devices
  • Attach to laptops
  • Camera attachment
  • All-purpose tray for reading, eating
  • Allow removal, without tools

Designed for modularity–a family of products to suit various needs

  • Single and Dual arm
  • Tilt’n Turner: no arm
  • Floor Stand (future option)

Testing

Prototypes were tested at various stages with over 50 people with disabilities and their families; and 50 assistive technology specialists.

Early Stage

  • Test lever release to give feedback on effort required
  • Test tilt adjustable tray, modified from existing car mount
  • Demo and test various arm lengths
  • Test 5 different joint release levers
  • Trial tilt adjustment options

Usability Testing

  • How easy is it to figure out how it works and how to set lock positions?
  • Demo and test two different lock-setting concepts

Field Testing

  • Gae tests a prototype for two years

Status

The Accessible Mount was commercialized under the Mount’n Mover name. It was introduced to the market in 2008, and is sold around the world.
Patent: Utility patent for “Mounting and positioning apparatus for increased user independence” issued November, 2011.

Trademark: Mount’n Mover name issued a Trademark in 2007

CE Mark: In 2013, the Mount’n Mover expanded into Europe in a bigger way, when the CE Mark status was issued.