DOLPHIN (Dynamic Overall Lifestyle Performance Helper Instrument)


Designers: Eason Abbott, Cooper Eben, Kyle Langdell, Zack Silber

Client Coordinator: Nancy Hoopingarner

Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs

Figure 1. DOLPHIN.

Figure 1. DOLPHIN.


The client is an 11-year-old girl with osteogenesis imperfecta, which limits her range of motion and makes independence difficult. The DOLPHIN allows her to easily access a variety of educational instruments from her bed.  It consists of a freestanding bedside base with a rotunda that supports several instruments, such as a tablet, ipod, and book.  Gooseneck cable attaches each instrument to the rotunda for maneuverability.  A telescoping arm rotates, allowing the client’s therapists to access her without obstruction. Using the DOLPHIN, the client can easily select and use any desired instrument.


The DOLPHIN allows our client to independently use several educational and entertainment devices. It is being incorporated into her daily lifestyle and homeschooling sessions.  The client exclaimed “I can reach everything!”.


The DOLPHIN (Figure 1) consists of a base, telescoping arm, rotunda, and several instrument interfaces. The steel base uses a commercial engine stand that has been modified with a side support for stability. The base also features a bottom pole seat and a pole pinning adapter to stabilize the rotating arm.

The steel telescoping rotating arm is constructed from custom-bent 1” steel tubing with welded bracing. It adjusts in height using a pin-locking system. The arm can be rotated to one of two stable positions, one above the client and one ninety degrees away, using an arm position locker.

The rotunda consists of an HDPE wheel, a lazy-susan bearing, a wheel support washer and bolt, an aluminum plate, and spring plungers. The wheel is bolted to the bearing and rotates relative to arm. The wheel support washer and bolt fasten the bearing securely to the suspension rod. The wheel locks into place at six designated locations by means of spring plungers, which press into holes in the aluminum plate.   The height of the plungers is set to allow positive locking but also easy rotation by the client

Five instruments attach to the rotunda using goosenecks with modified flanges. The instruments include holders for a tablet, iPod, whiteboard, book, and Wii remote. The goosenecks allow the client to adjust each instrument as desired, and provide handholds to turn the rotunda.

Figure 2 shows the client using the book holder component of the DOLPHIN. The cost of the components for the device is approximately $400.

Figure 2. Client using the DOLPHIN book holder attachment.

Figure 2. Client using the DOLPHIN book holder attachment.


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