Flyhouse was recently featured in the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) Industry News section of the spring 2017 newsletter. Our projects at Chesapeake Energy Arena and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab received mention.
While the tradition of having a flag hang in Macy's (previously Marshall Fields building) atrium began in 1916, Chicago Flyhouse has assisted in making the flag happen since 2003. Hanging over seven stories high, the flag is an amazing site to behold. See the video below to get a quick glimpse of how we made it happen.
Light shimmers off the glass on the 19th floor of the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. A patient in a harness walks up the grand staircase with a slow, but unfaltering pace while a physical therapist monitors progress. It’s a new way of rehabilitation that proves recovery is truly one step at a time.
Taking a concept regularly used in the entertainment industry, Chicago Flyhouse designed a three-dimensional flying system bringing the above scenario to reality.
In past methods, patient recovery took place in environments more likened to a gym atmosphere. The patient would get on a treadmill or a stationary bike to mimic real-life scenarios. The Ability Lab looked to Flyhouse to break free from the typical and understand the true needs of a patient.
The two key elements of the design process were creating an environment where patients comfortably recovered without impugning the overall aesthetics of the room and taking the machine feel out of a system.
The Strength and Endurance Lab integrates multiple stations where patients are asked to complete a different series of tasks whether it be maneuvering through an obstacle course or climbing a staircase.
Flyhouse designed a custom track that goes from the ground level to the landing of a staircase. It is there a patient transfers to the three-dimensional rig connected to Flyhouse’s system that follows the patient up and down the stairs. The physical therapist regulates the rate of speed with an ergonomically designed handheld wireless controller while another can monitor on a control panel located at the bottom of the stairs. If a patient were to lose balance, they instantly would hover securely in place in their harness.
Integrated over three floors of the Ability Lab, the system is noticeable only by the four-points connecting from the ceiling to the spreader bar above the harness. The four motors used to operate are hidden and noiseless. In essence, Flyhouse took the machine out of it like promised.
By adapting a unique solution from Flyhouse’s specialty to better solve another problem, thousands of patients each year are beginning to forge a path to recovery in an environment befitting to them.
Chicago Flyhouse and The House Theatre of Chicago worked together to provide performer flying effects for House's The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. The Director of the show and two of the flying monkeys discuss the process.
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.