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Category: Cognitive Disabilities

Compression Vest

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of dynamic compression vest for children with autism. This dynamic compression vest was designed to provide sensory integration to children with autism in order to help them process sensory input in an organized way. The vest allowed for the application of the compression to vary so the child did not assimilate to it. The vest could be set to timed intervals and be worn all day. This feature reduced the need to remove the vest frequently so that the child could be more comfortable in their environment and engage in more activities. It also provided greater freedom for parents or caregivers who did not have to remember to remove the vest. The vest consisted of an electrical sub-system, a pneumatics sub-system, and the vest itself. The compression was provided through five rubber bladders within the vest that inflated and deflated at timed intervals. There were two bladders in the front of the vest and three in the back, and they inflated so the anterior and posterior have the same pressure at the same location. This required control of three rows of bladders. The bladders were modified blood pressure cuffs, and a diaphragm pump was used to inflate and deflate them. The bladders were connected to the pump through solenoid valves by 1/8 inch tubing. The timing of the inflation and deflation is controlled by a microcontroller. The top row of bladders inflates first, and then moved to the bottom row. The bladders all held pressure for one minute, and then they deflated. This quick timing was intended to allow for the child to not habituate to the pressure so the vest would be more effective than static devices. While there was no evidence to support this timing scheme, further testing will be done to modify the timing. The inflation and deflation was achieved through a feed forward system. Feedback will also be implemented in future prototypes to determine the pressure within the bladders. In order to supply the correct voltage needed to each component, an electrical circuit was used, which was currently on a breadboard, but will eventually be moved to a circuit board. The circuit in this prototype supplied 12 volts to the pump and two of the valves, 6 volts to the remaining four valves, and 5 volts to the microcontroller. The circuit was powered by a standard laboratory voltage source. The vest had internal compartments to hold the bladders in place. The vest was split into an internal fabric and an external fabric to ensure the air pressure within the bladders was being applied directly to the torso and not inflating outwards. The internal material was rayon, and the external material was reinforced cotton. For this prototype, the pneumatic and electronic systems were located outside the vest, however, in future prototypes these will be inside the vest, so the vest will be portable when children wear it. The cost of all materials was around $900. TITLE: Dynamic Compression Vest for Children with Autism. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 8: pp. 92-93. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2010. http://nsf-pad.bme.uconn.edu/2010/CHAPTER%208%20THE%20OHIO%20STATE%20UNI....


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Compression Vest

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