Folding Handle For Gator Vehicle
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---- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To create a custom adapted folding handle for a John Deere Gator farm vehicle for an individual with paraplegia. An individual with paraplegia as a result of a spinal cord injury continues to work on his family’s farm and uses a Gator, an off-road vehicle, to get around the farm. The Gator allows this individual to perform tasks around the farm that would otherwise be very difficult, if not impossible, in his wheelchair. However, this individual’s therapist noticed that he was over-stretching and reaching awkwardly when transferring from the wheelchair into the Gator and was concerned for the potential of muscle or joint damage over time. TAD volunteers created a custom adapted handle that attaches to the roof bar of the Gator and could be folded and locked to the roof while driving. Making the handle secure was the top priority since the Gator travels over rough terrain (not dislodge while driving) but staying sturdy in position for when the individual transfers to and from his wheelchair from the Gator. Rather than bolting the handle through the roof strut it was decided that clamping it on and including two grub screws would reduce the risk of rotation and allow for easier adjustment in the future. A compression spring provides the tension to hold the lever handle in the required positions defined by two ball bearings, fitted into holes bored into the side of the handle lever, which rotates against a housing plate. When the balls align with the positioning holes drilled into the plate, the force of the compression spring holds the lever in place. The adaption allows other people to drive the Gator without hitting their heads on the handle while providing a practical solution for the upper body stress of transferring to and from the Gator from a wheelchair. TITLE: A better handle on farm work. JOURNAL: TAD Journal. REF: Volume 31, Number 3, Winter 2011: pp. 4-5. PAGES: 3 with cover.