MS Defense by Mixuan Li

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Title  Parametric Design Tool of Assistive Technology Adaptation by Occupational Therapists

Date: December 18th at 10 AM

Location: Online

Online Meeting Link: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_OWE3MjFlZWYtZTE3MC00NjcxLWI0YzktODA4OTRmODliY2Ri%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22482198bb-ae7b-4b25-8b7a-6d7f32faa083%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%22111ffbcb-60e6-4b03-8bd4-96f31cae91e6%22%7d



Dr. Leila Aflatoony, Assistant Professor, School of Industrial Design, Georgia Tech



Jon Sanford, Research Professor/Director, Dept. of Occupational Therapy, GA State University

Kevin Shankwiler, Senior Lecturer, School of Industrial Design, Georgia Tech



In individuals with hand impairments, limitations in hand mobility and grip strength, often due to aging or various pathologies, adversely affect their ability to perform daily activities, impacting personal independence. Occupational Therapists (OTs) address this by prescribing Assistive Technologies (AT) to improve hand function and prevent further damage. However, commercially available ATs frequently fail to meet the specific needs of users, leading OTs to customize them with materials like foam, tape, and thermoplastic. While these adaptations are beneficial, they are not durable or cost-effective over time.


3D printing is a promising technology for designing and fabricating highly customized AT adaptations that are durable, time-efficient, and cost-effective. Despite these benefits, implementing 3D printing for AT provision is challenging for OTs due to barriers, primarily the steep learning curve associated with existing 3D software. To overcome these limitations, we propose integrating a parametric modeling tool that supports 3D printing into OT practices, enabling the creation of customized ATs efficiently and affordably.


In this study, we developed an OT-friendly parametric modeling tool that allows OTs to modify pre-designed adaptive handles (as exemplar ATs) based on individual abilities, need assessments, and preferences. We initiated our study with interviews and observations of OTs' workflows, AT provision practices, and client expectations. Following this, using an iterative design process, we developed and tested an easy-to-use parametric modeling interface for customizing adaptive handles. We conducted usability testing with 12 OTs to assess the tool's usability and usefulness, gather feedback on its application, and evaluate the produced 3D printed ATs.


The outcomes of this study highlight the importance and feasibility of incorporating parametric modeling and 3D printing into OTs' everyday practice, empowering them to make customized adaptations to meet client needs. We anticipate that the ATs created through 3D printing using the parametric tool will significantly improve the independence of individuals with hand impairments in their daily activities. This enhancement stems from the broader adaptability of the produced ATs, catering to various utensils based on the specific needs of users.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Created:12/04/2023
  • Modified By:Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified:12/04/2023



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