Machine Design

Sip-n-puff rod and reel lets the disabled go fishing

Adaptive Creations
World Magnetics Co.

A special casting reel lets a person with severe paralysis cast a rod and reel, work the lure, and reel in fish.

The reel, called Ken’s Power Caster, comes from engineers at Adaptive Creations in Waltersburg, Pa. The firm develops equipment that lets people with severe disabilities take part in fun and challenging hobbies and sports such as kite flying and playing billiards.

The reel is relatively simple: a motorized rod and reel mounted on a swivel. Using three pushbuttons, a person can aim the rod, pull it back for a cast, then release it, letting it cast up to 100 ft. Manipulating all three buttons lets the fisherman pump the lure, set a hook, and then play-out and land a large fish.

Adaptive Creations wanted the fishing system to be usable by those with little to no use of their hands. To do so, they converted the three pushbuttons to sip-andpuff technology, long used by people with disabilities. For the conversion, Adaptive worked with World Magnetics Co., Traverse City, Mich., which has made reliable switches for sip-and-puff applications.

In the end, Adaptive used Magnetics PSF100A pressure switches, which are rugged and relatively immune to false activations, even in harsh environments. The switches can detect pressure changes down to 0.5 in. of water and can be programmed to work on pressure, vacuum, or differential pressure.

The switches mount in a chest plate, which makes them readily accessible to the fisherman. For people with more mobility, the three switches can be activated by the chin, feet, or hands, and mounted accordingly.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.

TAGS: Robotics
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