Design of a dynamic and adaptive head support

A.M. Geers

    Research output: ThesisEngD ThesisAcademic

    9 Downloads (Pure)


    For people with severe muscle weakness or paresis in the trunk and neck muscles, adequate head support is required. Although several assistive devices exist that can support a person’s head position, there is an absence of devices that are capable to support head movements in a natural and safe way. The large individual variation between users requires an individual match between user and assistive device.

    Existing solutions to stabilize the head are mainly static, meaning that the head can only be stabilized in one position. Some systems offer freedom of movement but do not provide support to the head. Additionally, some systems can be configured to allow a certain level of adaptability to the user. However, if head support systems are adjustable, mostly they are systems which enable the caregiver to manually change the head support to another position. There is no opportunity for adjustment by the user.

    It can be concluded that there is a need for assistive devices that provide dynamic adjustability by combining changes in position of the trunk and head with continuous stabilization. The main objectives of this project are to characterize this need for support, and to develop a first proof‐of‐concept of a dynamic and adaptive head support.

    This report explores the use of new control methods, implementing position control on an actuated head support system. The presented system can steer the head support position in 3D (including orientation) in a more efficient and natural way. Additionally, the system can autonomously adapt the head support position according to the back seat angle of the electric wheelchair. Thus, it is a first step in the development of a new generation of dynamic and adaptive head supports that are intelligent enough to
    autonomously personalize their behavior to the user.

    This PDEng project is done in collaboration with the company Focal Meditech B.V. and is part of the TTW research project Symbionics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Koopman, Bart F.J.M., Supervisor
    • Bergsma, A., Co-Supervisor
    Award date20 Sept 2018
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2018


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