City of Seoul Assistive Technology Service Center (2010-2013)
First job I had after moving to Korea was designing and bespoke manufacturing posture sustaining devices and various assistive devices. I was in charge of the operation as well as maintaining the machine shop. It boasts range of fabrication tools from high end woodworking equipment, basic metalworking, HandySCAN 3D scanner, 4 x 8 CNC and so on. For 3 years I made around 100 full units and numerous bespoke accessories.
Posture sustainer is a necessity for the physically disabled with severity. They sit on wheelchair pretty much all day except bedtime. Patients who usually come in commonly suffers from involuntary movement or progressive muscle weakness, and either way they need good physical support on torso to prevent spinal deformation, and also preventing them from falling off from the wheelchairs.
Traditional posture sustainer had 2 major problems. One being the inaccuracy and un-repeatability caused from the way of producing it. The process had been like this: patients come in and the craftsman "measures" their torso by touching, then carves out foam stock creating recess for patients to fit in. This leads to the second problem; the price barrier.
It costs around U$3000 to make one, and the patients(usually teenagers) usually needs 3, one for home, one for school and one in transit. We employed digital tools and skills to bring down the cost of the multiples and achieved higher accuracy compared to conventional method.
Regular wheelchair with molded foam cushion
While occupational therapist positions the patient, I form the vacuum bag to cover the rear side of the body.
Example of joint deformation from lack of posture support
Vacuum bag conforms to the body
Makeshift knee support
Demonstrating 3D Scanning process
Milling flexible foam
After attaching the foam to the frame, upholstery and accessories