On the MakeAbility forum, Jack Rae of Carlisle panel asks:
I have a client with advanced MND (Motor Neurone Disease) and as such has lost all muscle control over head/neck movement – ie he can neither hold his head upright nor rotate it to right or left.
He still has control over face and mouth muscles but, due to lack of diaphragm control, is unable operate any form of ‘sip-and-puff’ sensor.
When in his day-chair, his head naturally relaxes back against the seat back cushion. He uses a U-shaped neck support should he wish to have his head held upright, but this has to be placed in and out of use by his carer.
What he seeks is a method of permitting his head to be held upright and also permit slight rotation (left and right) so that he can look at anyone he may be speaking to.
I envisage providing a motorised drive to the U-shaped neck support. One motor would operate elevation of his head and a second motor would (by operation of sensors in proximity of both left and right cheeks) be used to provide a few degrees of head rotation. A master sensor would be used to activate and de-activate the motorised features so that normal facial movements would not inadvertently operate either motors.
My enquiry is : Has anyone already worked on such a project and/or are there obvious (or less than obvious) pitfalls with the concept that must be borne in mind.
Secondly : Can anyone suggest a source of DMC (Dough Moldable Compound) which is a thermo-setting sheet material (not Polymorph) for forming into body supports