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Measuring Device for Packager

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Contents

Situation

A production worker with quadriplegia and cognitive deficits from a head injury needed to accurately measure and package soup spices. Typically, the spices were held in individual containers and were measured with traditional kitchen measuring spoons. However, due to memory and attention deficits, this worker was not able to remember how much of each spice needed to be measured, and confuses tablespoons and teaspoons. In addition, tremors, spasticity, and general weakness, made it difficult for her to place the spoon into the small bag without spillage.


Accommodation

Measuring device
Measuring device
Measuring device
Measuring device

A special measuring station was developed. The spices are held in a funnel-shaped hopper, and each time the worker actuates a lever on the machine, a teaspoon of spice drops down a small stainless steel shoot into a sealable plastic bag beneath. A thick acrylic sheet with a hole in it that holds the equivalent of one teaspoon is used to measure out the correct amount of spice. The sheet, which has a handle, can be moved so that in one position, it aligns with the funnel and spices fill the hole. When the worker pulls back on the handle, the sheet moves about an inch to the second position, allowing the spices to fall into the packaging bag. If four teaspoons of spice are required for the mix, the worker activates the handle four times, after placing a bag under the spout.

A small vibrating motor was attached to the hopper to prevent the spices in the funnel from compacting. All recipes were converted to teaspoons instead of tablespoons, and the amount is noted and placed by her workstation for easy referral.


Cost Analysis

The rehab engineer primarily used miscellaneous parts from the workshop, but estimates it cost about $410 to complete. Approximately two hours were spent evaluating the work site and the employee's functional capacity, and another full day of prototyping and refining the device.


Repeatability of Solution

The solution worked flawlessly and could be adapted to other production settings and individuals. Clients with low vision, mental retardation, lack of bi-manual dexterity from stroke or other disabilities, and individuals with tremors, such as with cerebral palsy could possibly benefit from a similar design.


Acknowledgements

David F. Law, Jr., Rehab Engr.

VA Dept of Rehabilitative Services

CRCMS Division

8004 Franklin Farms Drive

Richmond, VA 23288-0300


[1] http://www.workrerc.gatech.edu