Portable White Board for Hospital Teaching

Designers: Brian Lee, Maher Salahi, Vitaly Chibisov
Client Coordinator: Amanda Headley
Supervising Professors:  Richard Goldberg, Kevin Caves

The Portable White Board was designed to alleviate problems that arise from having mobile school teachers at the Duke University Hospital School.  As they teach students who are patients in the hospital, they have no means to move a white board between hospital rooms.  It includes three components: a large whiteboard for the teacher to write on, a smaller easel whiteboard for the pupil, and a support structure for both of them. The large white board can be adjusted vertically and radially. The support structure is made of the base, suction cup, and basket. The easel is simply a whiteboard that can stand by itself and is portable.

Our client coordinator Amanda Headley, a teacher at Duke University Medical Center, commented: “I have been wanting something that would improve my delivery to my bedridden students for many years.  The board will enable me to introduce algebra problems more easily by being able to use the board for many practice problems as well as notes that the student can immediately refer back to.  The board is more effective than leaning over their bed because they often have had surgery and it is not convenient for me to lean onto the bed.  It is also not easy for them to see my lesson if they can not sit up enough while I use the bed-side table.”

The Portable White Board (Figure 1) includes a teacher’s portable whiteboard, a student’s easel, and a support structure. The teacher’s whiteboard was manufactured from a large piece of raw white board material (Everwhiteproducts.com). A frame was fashioned from 1″ x 1″ pieces of stained red oak, with a groove cut to contain the board itself.  A penholder was made from an L-shaped piece of aluminum, bent into a more favorable angle. These components were glued together and to the whiteboard.

The easel was constructed in a similar fashion as the main white board, except that it does not harbor a pen holder. The easel support was made out of a plastic board and a reconfigured 5/16″ steel beam. The beam was bent into a U shape with the top ends bent inwards. The plastic was made to fold out using two hinges, with a groove for the steel beam to set on. The assembly was secured with epoxy glue and acrylic cement.

The support structure base uses 3″ x 1.5″ aluminum rails (80/20, Inc.), configured in the shape of an “H”. The base is attached to 3″ casters to allow for easy movement around the hospital corridors.  A large suction cup, designed to handle 100 lb of force (Wood’s Powr-Grip Co., Inc.) is attached to the base, allowing the structure to be locked in place.  The suction cup is mounted to a vertical pipe that sits inside the main vertical support pipe of the device. The user lowers the suction cup to the floor by twisting and lowering the inner pipe, and activates the suction by
pumping a foot lever.  A stainless steel pipe with outer diameter of 1.25″ is mounted to the base using U-bolts and a custom acrylic spacer that rests between the U-bolt and pipe, holding the pipe securely.

The teacher’s white board is mounted to an acrylic plate, which is mounted to the vertical pipe.  A custom acrylic cam, with an ergonomic handle, allows the board to rotate radially but lock in place easily.  A collar on the bottom of the acrylic plate contains a through hole.  A series of holes drilled in the vertical pipe allows the height of the white board to be adjusted by inserting a pin through the collar hole and the desired pipe hole.

A milk crate basket was bolted to the base to provide storage space.  Cost of parts was about $500.

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