Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Custom repair solves a problem with style

a modified joystick on a wheelchair sports a knobby piece of antler
It's not unusual for UATP's staff members to come up with a customized, simple solution to a problem. But this one has style.
ROOSEVELT--Utah Assitive Technology Program client Joel "Montana" Filmore was having trouble operating his power wheelchair. He kept accidentally hitting buttons while he used the joystick. When the joystick knob fell off while he was in town,  he was unable to pick it up.

Fortunately, UATP's Uintah Basin coordinator, Cameron Cressall, was in the neighborhood when Filmore called. He picked the knob off the sidewalk and delivered it to Filmore's house.

Montana Filmore
"While we were there, he talked about some of the problems he was having maneuvering his power wheelchair," Cressall said. "We discussed some adaptions we could make to his joystick that might help. He suddenly got an idea."

Filmore asked Cressall to retrieve an old deer antler from the corner of his apartment and asked if a new knob could be made of that.

With that, Cressall and student employee Brandon Griffin were on the job. "We got to work, and with a cut here, sand there and a hole drilled, we made him a new knob," Cressall said. The result: a joystick that is taller, larger and easier to work with limited fine motor skills.

Also, it's got Filmore's personality all over it.

"He says it will keep him from accidentally hitting buttons that interfere with operating his chair, won't fall off and is easier for him to maneuver," Cressall said. "He loves the antler knob."