The proposed SMART mount, a powered mounting and positioning system, provides individuals with significant disabilities access to and control over their immediate environment. It enables independent repositioning of devices by a person with little or no upper extremity function-from their bed or a wheelchair. With the SMART mount's ability to move, rotate and tilt devices and trays, a person can move essential items into usable positions, allowing them to easily and independently change activities. For example, they can change from using a communication device to taking a drink, or move things out of their visual field and into a better position for driving their wheelchair-without waiting for assistance. Positioning of mounted devices is controlled through an accessible method of choice, such as a switch, voice or joystick control. The accessible and programmable controller allows the setting of custom """"""""sweet spots"""""""" for quick and easy movement to reach specific positions. The system moves in a coordinated motion, synchronously adjusting the position of the arms, tilt and height. When preferred, rotation at the joints, tilt and height may be selectively adjusted with the chosen accessible controls. SMART mounts are Scalable, Modular, and Accessible Robotic Technologies. The principal building block of the SMART mount is the SMART joint-an integrated package within housing, consisting of a motor, gear set, bearings, and proprietary motor controller, including a position sensor and wireless transceiver. The SMART joint includes a worm gear set in order to provide the torque required to move a sizable load, up to 15 pounds, and to hold it place when a person tilts in their wheelchair. Each arm consists of two SMART joints connected by an extruded arm segment. Reorienting the SMART joint ninety degrees provides a tilt function. A SMART mount system consists of one or two arm segments, tilt and height adjustability, an accessible controller and user interface. SMART modules for tilt and height adjustment can be used and incorporated with manually-operated mounts, providing cost-effective powered functionality. Phase 1 focuses on: 1) SMART joint module design and robustness;2a) positioning technology, accuracy and repeatability;2b) movement strategies to safeguard the end user;and 3) incorporating and testing wireless capabilities. Research methods: 1) Design and develop joint using SolidWorks;build prototypes;test using force gauges;index collars to register joint movement;electronic levels to measure deflection;2-3) Electronics design and firmware development and testing: 2a) positioning: test with repeated seek commands;2b) develop and test movement algorithms to stay out of the end user space;test with a series of go-to commands;2c) develop and test back-off response when mounts meet obstacles;3) implement and test wireless signal strength and transmission integrity;introduce noise and retest to determine susceptibility to noise.

Public Health Relevance

People who are quadriplegic, who cannot move their body below their shoulders, and/or cannot move their body effectively, need to ask others for help to access anything that is not directly in front of them. It is essential that these individuals are able to readily access food, drinks, speech devices, controls, phones, and computers. With this technology, they would be able to manage their own needs by being able to move things where and when they need them, resulting in greater independence and a significant improvement in their social and psychological well-being.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ETTN-B (50))
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Shinowara, Nancy
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Blue Sky Designs, Inc.
United States
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