A ball launcher with a difference!
Eleven-year-old Harry has Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, which sadly means he has poor gross motor skills and is reliant on his wheelchair just to get around. Harry faces difficult challenges everyday but he’s able to live a happy life. He’s a budding musician and enjoys going to the cinema but when someone special came into his life two years ago, Harry soon had a new love.
That someone was Addi, Harry’s assistance dog and best friend!
Addi’s a remarkable dog and a big part of Harry’s life. When he isn’t assisting, it’s important for Addi to have play time and they both love being outside together. Each time they were out on walks though, there was just something missing and Harry’s parents tried but couldn’t find the answer.
Harry’s mum, Hilary told us, ‘Harry so wanted to play fetch with Addi, who just loves to run after a ball. Sadly, though, Harry doesn’t have the strength or coordination to be able to throw. He loved being outside with Addi but you could see the disappointment on his face each time we went for a walk. I was so pleased, though, when I came across Cerebra and their wonderful Innovation Centre.’
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To help Harry throw a ball for Addi to fetch, his parents bought a dog ball launcher. This could fire a ball some distance – sadly, though, Harry couldn’t hold the launcher very well and didn’t have the strength to pull the trigger.
Our Product Design team knew exactly what they had to do!
The team designed a bracket that could support the launcher and sit nicely on Harry’s wheelchair frame – not only that but the launcher’s firing mechanism had to be altered, so that all Harry had to do was lightly press it to release the ball.
Once the bracket was in place there was just one more surprise in store… putting Harry at the controls! While he could fire the launcher with no problem, Harry had to move his wheelchair each time he wanted to aim. The wheelchair had joystick controls so why couldn’t the launcher?
This was the final challenge for our Product Design team and I’m very pleased to say that on 1st July, Harry and Addi were ready for take-off!
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