The challenge was to design a device that allowed our client to operate her brand new Kirton Products Duo Major/Minor electric powered recliner chair by herself. The controller supplied with the chair has soft touch buttons that are hard to locate without sight and require very little pressure or movement, all of which are difficult for our client. It is also on a coiled springy cable and there is nowhere (apart from the back) to attach this to the chair where it will stay put.
The hand controller must be easily accessible so that the battery in the chair can be charged overnight. The client wants the device on the right hand side of the chair which means that the hand controller must be removed from it (because the charging socket is on its left hand side).
I was very keen not to modify the chair in any way as it was very expensive and any modifications might invalidate the warranty or safety status.
The device I designed uses four differently shaped 3D printed buttons that I designed for a previous project (59-18) for the same client. These buttons operate the normal hand controller buttons via levers. This allows the large buttons to move a decent distance without applying excessive pressure to the hand controller buttons. The hand controller is inserted into the device and locked in position so it cannot be moved in use, but it can also easily be removed so that the battery in the chair can be charged overnight. The device is fitted to the top edge of the chair’s right hand removable side panel so no modifications are required to the chair.
I was able to borrow a hand controller from the chair manufacturer which made the detailed design and testing of the device possible, thank you Mike.
I delivered the device on the day after the chair was installed in the client’s home and fitted it very quickly (my measurements turned out to be good). We inserted the hand controller into the designated space and locked the door. Almost immediately our client was able to find the buttons and control the chair’s functions independently, the smile on her face made it all worthwhile.
The 3D model
The finished device on the chair
The door is open to remove the controller
A happy client
The benefit is simple, the client can now independently use her recliner chair. The hand controller can be removed to charge the chair and the whole device can easily be removed from the side panel if necessary.