LipSync Update: Mounting Progress

As you may have noticed, over the last little while, we haven’t been talking much about the technical aspects of the LipSync. When we began this weekly update, our main work — and thus what we reported to you — was the progress we were making on bringing the LipSync to life.

Now, while we’re always refining it, the mechanics and the design are largely set. Our main mission, on the LipSync end, is outreach, and thus that’s what you’ve been reading.

But there is still one part of the process we’re really figuring out — mounting.

Don testing a mounting solution for his LipSync and tablet at BCITS.
Above: Don testing a mounting solution for his LipSync and tablet at BCITS.
Below: Don trying out a different mounting for his tablet, that sits low and between Don’s legs, and is easy to set-up and disassemble. (Don preferred this set-up).
Don trying out a different mounting for his tablet, that sits low and between Don’s legs, and is easy to set-up and disassemble.

The idea we had was to shadow experienced professionals at rehabilitation centres and similar places, and see how they would approach the mounting process for the LipSync and mobile devices. Since we’re new to this side of the process, we sat back and observed what they did. Then we could use this knowledge to create our own mounting system, one that is more cost-effective and can be made by makers. And that would be universal, rather than needing an entirely different system for each maker.

The different professionals started out with a “building block,” a basic mounting system, and then would mix and match different components from different mounting systems to optimize it to the users’ needs.

When we tested mounting with Don, he gave us a few requirements he needed. The LipSync needed to be mounted on the left side, as his sip and puff controls for his wheelchair are on that side. He also likes to pull in under his desk at work and home, so the LipSync mount needed to come from behind or the side.

With Jim, he had his LipSync mounted to his stationary desk, rather than his wheelchair. With this set-up, we used his already-in-place mounting system, which used ball and socket joints — all you have to do to set it up is loosen the lever and put it in position, and tighten it up again. The problem, however, is that it did not have an interface that went from the LipSync to the ball and socket joints.

To solve this, we designed a 3D printable adapter that threads into the LipSync housing and has a one-inch ball on the end of it. This connects the LipSync to the rest of the mount.

Jim’s set-up. Notice the blue ball connecting his LipSync to the mount — it’s 3D printed!
Above: Jim’s set-up. Notice the blue ball connecting his LipSync to the mount — it’s 3D printed!
Below: Our new universal mounting design (as a work in progress).
Our new universal mounting design (as a work in progress)

Our goal now is to build a universal, open-source mounting system, that could be assembled through a step-by-step process by makers.

The system we’re developing is modular. You can use different lengths of rods and connect them with joints, then you can angle them however you want. The one joint that is 3D printed (the black and white joint that looks like teeth in the picture) is a rotational system that allows you to lock it at whatever angle you want.

At the moment, we’re working on a way to fasten the whole mount to a wheelchair, and in doing this, making sure that it’ll be universal, and able to fit on all sorts of different sized tubing, posts, rails, and brackets.

Using a 3D printed quick release system with a bike clamp (the white square in the picture), it will be easy to put on, ensure that it is stable, and take it off.