Blog | Chicago Flyhouse

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Ability Lab: Part Two

Written by Flyhouse | Mar 27, 2017 2:48:14 PM

When Flyhouse envisioned a system for the new Ability Lab, we had a distinctive train of thought. We know it might frighten you to be inside our head, but let us walk you through it.

The aesthetics of a room is important. It can create an open and bright environment on the path to recovery or it can create a sterile hospital feel. We knew we had to keep in mind that the beautiful two-story glass view of the lake from the 19th floor should not be compromised by installing a fully exposed system but at the same time, it should safely protect a patient from any fall on the grand staircase. Hide the motors from sight and make sure all components are quiet when operating. The system should also be simple enough to fully train the therapist in control of it in less than two hours. Above all, the patient should have little to no distractions which will allow them to focus solely on their recovery.

In the summer of 2016, Flyhouse created a mock up within our shop to ensure it worked the way we wanted it to within the restrictions presented at the hospital. The three-month mock-up included an entire functioning system that closely mimicked the size of the stairs and facility dimensions in which we had to work.

(Pre-Installation at Flyhouse Shop)

While the shop built stairs and installed the necessary components to test the system, the electrical shop began the development of a simplified software to allow for ease of use once completed. In each step of the process, Flyhouse had the patient and therapist in mind.

So what’s within this simplified system?

A custom console located near the bottom of the coordinated system’s steps and an ergonomically designed handheld wireless controller which controls the coordinated system with both operating simultaneously. The console shows the system use in real time including the patient's path, speed, the amount of load for each axis point and the max load. This is also the area where if something happens within the system, both the console and the controller would notify the user. If for any reason the system needs to be stopped immediately, the console and controller have E-Stops which can be engaged.

The simplified software eliminates the need for advanced training by making the system intuitive to the operator.

“The key for Flyhouse was to create a system that looked beautiful in the room, functioned well, intuitive to operate, and didn’t interfere with the goal of rehabbing the patient,” Witteveen said.

In September 2016, Executives and Physical Therapists from the Ability Lab came to Flyhouse for a first-hand look at the system in action. Not only did we demonstrate the system, we got a physical therapist in a harness and had them walk the entire path of the system while another used the controller to recreate scenarios commonly seen in their day-to-day work.