ALS Neck Support System

Improving the quality of life for those afflicted with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (2009)

During a year-long collaboration with a team of mechanical engineering students, we sought to improve the lives of those affected by ALS by increasing their mobility. Weakened neck muscles is one of the unfortunate symptoms associated with the disease; our task was to design a neck brace that supports the head while allowing lateral rotation and flexion/extension of the neck, with the assistance of a motorized mechanism.

My goals were to coordinate research, prototype and develop concepts, and research materials. Through extensive and empathic studies, I sought to understand the physical, social, and financial needs of the users and their caregivers. Balancing mechanical capabilities with human factors and limitations, I created a system that met our collective criteria. This project was pivotal in defining my ambition to continue using design as a tool to improve health and well-being.