Volksswitch - the People's AT Switch (Proof of Concept)
As I was working on a master’s degree in special education and a certificate in assistive technology, I had the opportunity to survey the domain of assistive technology – in particular electronic input devices. The first thing I noticed was a mind-numbing variety of available pressure switches with huge amounts of overlap in functionality and features. They’re also hugely expensive. It was difficult to understand why a particular manufacturer chose to incorporate a particular feature set into their switch, but once incorporated, there was little or no support for customization.
While researching and writing my master’s project, I happened to purchase a 3D Printer and immediately saw the opportunity that 3D printing created for low cost, one-off (personalized), manufacturing. The technology is also simple enough to use that it could be put into the hands of people close to the individuals with disabilities – OTs, PTs, ATPs, and even families.
The switch design here is intended only as a proof of concept (POC) or as an existence proof. Every design element and decision could be improved upon and I hope it will. The purpose of this design is only to get the conversation started.The Volksswitch has goals in terms of cost, functionality and reliability but simultaneously aspires to high levels of customization and personalization – a capability which is only now feasible via the technology of 3D printing. If you believe, like I do, that’s possible, please visit the Volksswitch website (http://www.volksswitch.org) and join us!
Power to the People!
Monoprice Select Mini
I printed the parts that will receive a heat-set threaded insert (the activation surface and the switch core base) with a three-layer shell thickness (1.2 mm because I used a 0.4 mm nozzle). None of these parts require supports.
How I Designed This
The proof of concept was modeled with Fusion 360. Requirements are documented at the Volksswitch website: http://www.volksswitch.org.