Light Switch Adaptation - REMAP - Custom made equipment for disabled people
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Light Switch Adaptation

The Client had curvature of the spine which meant that they could not operate the light switches in the home without assistance.  The client had the following requirements:

  • A means of operating standard light switches in the living room, bedroom and hallway.
  • The Client was height impaired with a curvature of the spine, which caused difficulty walking; therefore the solution needed to be operable with one hand, as the other would be occupied with a walking stick.
  • Client wasn’t keen on the idea of “Smart” lighting or remote control lighting, and just wanted something simple to use and operate.
  • The Client did not want to touch any of the home electrical wiring, and the light switch itself should not need to be opened up or modified.
  • The solution needed to be removable at a later date.

The solution

A 3D printed device was designed and built, that sits over a standard sized light switch and secured to the wall with screws and wall plugs.  The device uses a lever with a cord attached that actuates the light switch, lever arms keep the cord and toggles away from the wall and provides a means for the cord to firmly pull the lever towards the light switch to actuate it properly.

The device is operated with one hand by pulling one cord down to turn the light on, and the other cord down to turn the light off again.  3D printed toggles were added at the bottom of the cord at a suitable height to allow the client to grip the cord.  Because the device sits over the light switch that is mounted to the wall, the light switch itself or any of the house electrics did not need to be modified.  The devices were removed at a later date when they were no longer needed.

Three of these devices were built, plus one prototype to test the dimensions.  One of the switches sat above a radiator, and required slightly longer arms so that the cords and toggles cleared the radiator.  The device in the living room required shorter arms as the door fouled the standard sized arm when mounted to the wall.  3D printed shims were used to ensure good fit and good contact between the roller and the switches, since the walls were not perfectly flat.

Fusion 360 software was used to model the device and its constituent parts, and printed using PLA plastic filament on a Prusa i3 Mk2 FDM 3D printer.  This method allowed for modelling of precise parts, rapid prototyping and relatively quick production / replication.

The benefit

The client was able to independently operate the light switches without additional assistance, allowing for more independent mobility especially through the night.

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