Creating assistive technology in-house at Bethany Children's Health Center
Working at a rehabilitation hospital can be challenging. You must be prepared for constant changes, and an analytical, patient-centered approach is essential when creating life-changing solutions. When it comes to manufacturing, all you want is for the equipment to do its job. The latest technical features or powerful components are secondary; you want everything to work.
Cathryn Tamney holds a Bachelor's degree in Manufacturing Engineering and works as an Assistive Technology Specialist at Bethany Children's Health Center, a leader in pediatric rehabilitation and 24-hour complex care.
She is part of a multidisciplinary team that collaborates with patients and their families to optimize the patient's physical and cognitive abilities. She works in the in-house manufacturing area, utilizing a variety of manufacturing technologies to develop assistive devices and providing the therapists with the necessary training and resources to ensure a seamless transition for families from the hospital to their home.
When existing solutions don't meet your needs
Assistive technology, in all shapes and forms, plays a key role at the health center as it improves patient independence and well-being. However, two major issues exist with the assistive devices currently available on the market. Firstly, they are generic and, in many cases, cannot be adapted to meet the patient's exact needs. Secondly, the high price of these devices limits accessibility and adoption for both the health center and families, despite their daily use.
Assistive devices are just so expensive. It’s insane how much companies charge for simple devices that most of our patients use every day.— Cathryn Tamney - Assistive Technology Specialist
Building an in-house manufacturing area
These limitations led the health center to build an in-house manufacturing area. Cathryn has been working there, designing, prototyping, and fixing assistive devices that are used in the same building.
The first two technologies they adopted were FDM 3D printing and laser cutting. While these technologies offer many design possibilities, there are some limitations when it comes to manufacturing assistive devices.
For example, laser-cut acrylic parts are fragile and can easily break. Similarly, while FDM 3D printing with PLA plastic is accessible and affordable, it's a slow manufacturing process and the resulting parts have too much texture, which can cause sensory overload in people with visual impairments.
Using the Mayku Multiplier to make assistive devices
Recognizing the limitations of their existing technology, the health center decided to expand its manufacturing capabilities. After researching various options, they selected the Mayku Multiplier and its pressure forming technology as a complementary solution that met their needs.
The Mayku Multiplier's production speed and output quality were key factors in the decision. One of the assistive devices produced by Cathryn using the Multiplier are keyguards.
These objects typically consist of a thin layer of plastic perforated with holes for the keys on a screen. When placed on top of the screen, the keyguard fills the space between the keys, preventing the user from unintentionally pressing multiple keys.
To manufacture keyguards, Cathryn first creates a template using 3D printing or laser cutting, and then shapes it using EVA sheets. This method allows for the quick creation of custom keyguard molds, saving a lot of time compared to technologies like 3D printing. She then utilizes the Multiplier-made molds to create the final parts using materials such as blue epoxy resin.
Furthermore, the flexible nature of EVA material means that the keyguard molds can be easily re-used and won't be easily damaged. Additionally, the smooth surface texture of the molds prevents any chance of sensory overload on the final parts.
How the Multiplier is helping Bethany Children's Health Center
Thanks to the Multiplier's expanding range of materials and ease of use, Cathryn is able to prototype, test, and manufacture all kinds of assistive devices in-house. She can make molds or parts in just a few minutes and at a lower cost.
Today, Cathryn can create customized assistive devices within minutes, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing expensive and generic ones.
Working at a rehabilitation hospital is challenging, but thanks to the Mayku Multiplier and all the other tools available in their own manufacturing area, Cathryn can focus on what really matters: the patients.
Get in touch
Let's chat about possible applications or any other ideas or questions you might have. Book a call with a member of our team below.Find a time
Submit a question
Want to know more? Send us a question and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.Ask now
Find a reseller
Our certified resellers have invaluable application and workflow knowledge. Connect with a reseller near you.Connect