The Rehabilitation Engineering Centre help Christopher to take to the sky

L-R - Will, Brooke and Alan from the Rehabilitation Engineering Centre with patient Christopher.

L-R – Will, Brooke and Alan from the Rehabilitation Engineering Centre with patient Christopher.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Centre (REC) at STARS designs and produces custom modifications for people with disabilities to improve their quality of life.

For some clients it might be wheelchair seating which allows them to sit up better or relieve pressure but for others it’s customisations that let them to participate in recreational or work activities.

For Christopher Hills, who has cerebral palsy, the Centre has assisted him with managing pain so he could continue his work flying drones and testing his drone control system.

For the REC team the challenge was to address Christopher’s pain while still allowing him some freedom of movement.

“Christopher was experiencing pain in his shoulder, arm and hand from his involuntary movements and as a result, he wasn’t able to fly his drone for very long.

He needed something that would contain his right arm to help manage the pain, but not restrain it, as this would only exacerbate the involuntary movements,” said REC Engineer Brooke Rankin.

“We ended up designing and building a wall which replaced the armrest on his chair and could be removed when not needed. Here at the Rehab Engineering Centre we love providing solutions
for clients which allow them to get back to activities that are enjoyable and meaningful.”

For Christopher, his new customised arm support system has not only enabled him to fly his drone for longer periods of time, it could lead to other people with disabilities also enjoying the past time.

“I’m an accessibility consultant and one of my projects is designing a drone control system that quadriplegics can use with head movements. Throughout the test phase, I was experiencing a lot of arm and hand pain related to my involuntary movements – and it got to the point where I couldn’t work anymore out on the field,” said Christopher.

“The new arm support system built for me by the Rehabilitation Engineering Centre plays to my complex neurological tendencies and reduces pain and movement throughout my arm, hand, fingers and thumb. Medications weren’t appropriate for me, due to the need for me to stay alert as a drone pilot.

“The new support means I have been able to get back out in the field and I’m now in the process of getting my control system certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.”

2024-03-18T12:14:45+10:0015 March 2024|
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