STEM II was our group assistive technology project! I worked with Erika, Alexis, and Donny to create an adaptive device for a Wii controller.
Wii remotes are not design for people with disabilities. Our client has cerebral palsy, making their movements stiff and awkwards and limits their fine motor skills. It becomes difficult to press the small buttons and hold the remote.
Some of the current options for assistive wii devices are expensive, sitting at over $1000, not personalized to our client's specific needs, or not compatible with the Wii.
We had a few criteria to work around to ensure we were meeting the needs of our client. Our device needed to be less than $100, maintain the functionality of a Wii remote, be able to be played in a wheelchair, and have larger buttons that require less force to press than the original Wii remote. We wanted to make sure the Wii remote could be removed from the device and not modified at all. We hoped our design would not require a caretaker for usage.
We brainstormed a few different designs, ranging from a stand that refigured the buttons to new, larger buttons. We also considered a case that was a more mechanical approach to this problem. We found that the case fit our criteria better, and decided to prototype this design.
We had a few different iterations in our designs. We initially made a cardboard proof of concept of the case. For this design, the back end was left open for the remote to be removed, and the plungers (also made out of cardboard) were hot glued to the Wii remote. We made another iteration of this using straws as the plunger and found that to more accurately depict our project.
We decided that the best way to create our model would be through 3D printing. This allowed for better accuracy and attention to detail, or so we thought. We ran into a few issues, such as support pillar from the 3D printing getting stuck inside, as well as some discrepancies in measurement, as initially the holes for the plungers, which we decided would be wooden dowels, were too small. We made some modifications and reprinted, but we still ran into the issue of the leftovers in the case. We thought it might be better to switch to a wooden model, but it became a bit too clunky and became hard to ensure that the device would be sturdy and reliable.
Addressing this, we used a different 3D printer and were able to avoid the issue of the remains in the case. In this modification, we switched from circular dowels to square dowels since when the buttons were pressed, they rotated from the original position which was not ideal. Additionally, columns were added inside the top piece to guide the plungers to the buttons on the Wii remote, and the top piece had teeth to click into the bottom piece, as we printed them separately.
We were able to test this design with our client, and it was a very valuable experience for us. While our design did not meet all of their needs, we gained a better understand of who we were working with and some additional things we might have needed to factor into our design. We received helpful feedback, such as how it might be beneficial to make our buttons larger, and have an additional piece inside to make sure they can't be removed unless that is the intention.