The Sci-Files – 02/28/2021 – Alec, Anna, Robert, Nic – Therapy to a New Level

Chelsie Boodoo and Daniel Puentes

Cab of therapy car is on a lift while the team stands next to it
Cab of therapy car on a lift

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Alec Bailey, Anna Graffeo, Robert Gustke, Nic Weller from the Department of Mechanical Engineering McLaren Greater Lansing, an acute care hospital split between two campuses in Lansing, is in the process of building a new hospital facility adjacent to Michigan State University. This new facility will feature a rehabilitation gym used for occupational therapy services to help patients achieve the highest level of independence possible with everyday tasks. Ideally, this is done in a way that accurately and realistically represents tasks patients will face outside of a hospital setting. An aspect of the rehabilitation gym that McLaren would like to improve is the simulation of entering and exiting a vehicle to better prepare patients for this action with their own vehicle, regardless of height. A height-adjustable simulator would assist patients in gaining the necessary skills and

Screenshot of Zoom panels of headshots of Alec Bailey, Anna Graffeo and Robert Gustke on the first line. Second line has Megan Phanrisvong and Nic Weller.
Team featuring picture of Alec, Anna, Robert, Megan and Nick

knowledge in their practice sessions for a successful transfer upon discharge. The goal of this project was to design and assemble a car transfer simulator that could be raised or lowered to different standard car heights. The project team accomplished this by designing a mounting mechanism for a truck cab that was donated to the hospital for attachment to a hydraulic lift. The team researched and purchased a lift that would properly support the donated truck cab, mounting mechanism, and patient according to the listed weight capacity. To account for other safety concerns, emergency supports were made in the case of lift failure, and pinch points were reduced across the simulator. The cab was mounted with these safety considerations and delivered to the hospital for installation.