Designer's Corner

Maneuverable powered chair

The Hoveround(TM) personal mobility vehicle lets elderly or disabled persons maneuver in tighter confines with greater control than conventional powered wheelchairs or scooters. A single motor drives the rear wheel which also steers the chair under joystick control. Users can set the electronic controller to permit greater or lesser maneuverability depending on the chair's speed.

The at-home version features a horizontally rotating bumper that limits collision damage to walls and woodwork. A heavier version can traverse 18-20 miles on a single charge of its dual 24-V, gel-filled batteries. Options include powered chair height adjustment, carrying racks, and custom steering/throttle controls. Thomas Kruse, Hoveround Corp ., 8135 25 th Court East, Sarasota, FL 34243, (813) 359-3075.

Peristaltic pump

Without flappers, pinch rollers, or centrifugal vanes, the Trustaltic Softpump delivers variable flowrate, shearless fluid transport. The pump employs a sterilizable, flexible inner tube surrounded by a rigid outer vessel and end caps. A programmable pneumatic controller delivers compressed air, then vacuum to the space between the tube and vessel alternately collapsing and expanding the tube. Sequential actuation of serial pumping elements propels even highly viscous liquids along tubing. Elements can also be arranged in parallel and phased to deliver minimally pulsating flows.

Highly adaptable, the pump works over a range of operating pressures and with a variety of materials for the inner tube. A one-inch diameter, four-element "pumping stick" can deliver flows from l ml/day to 4 GPM. Ilya Feygin, American Dengi Co., Inc. , P.O. Box 768, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076, (908) 233-6977.

IV-Catheter assist

Anything that ameliorates insertion of intravenous catheters ought to be welcomed by patients and health workers alike. This disposable adaptor gives practioners added mechanical advantage during insertion and removal of catheter needles. The adaptor consists of a plunger-like main body and a sliding needle-hub holder. Conventional IV needle-and-cannula sets snap into the adapter with the cannula hub beyond the body's extreme end and the needle hub in the holder. After inserting the set into a vein, practitioners pull back on the needle-hub holder to retract the needle, leaving the cannula in place. A spring-loaded cup arm on the body covers the retracted needle's tip. William Sahlmann, Product Development Lab , 43 Driftwood Lane, Milford, CT 06460, (203) 874-4421.

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