Golf Prosthesis Final Design Report (P2)

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Project Management Plan

All group members are responsible for research, attending meetings, and idea generation. The specific responsibilities of each individual are listed below. These responsibilities are subjected to change as the project develops. Deadlines and tasks for the remainder of this project are laid out in the Gantt Chart located in Appendix F.

Lauren Wilson:

  • Record and keep track of contact’s information
  • Manage team’s schedule
  • Establish weekly duties for each team member
  • Establish short term and long term goals for the project
  • Manage project’s budget
  • Set up meetings with outside parties
  • Golf cuff design

Ryan Satcher:

  • Manufacturing
  • Prototype fabrication
  • Material selection and properties
  • Purchasing materials
  • Forearm attachment

Joseph Barcus:

  • Testing plans and procedures
  • Product safety and warnings
  • Analyze stresses and fatigue loading at impact
  • Calculations and statistical analysis of testing data
  • Develop a user’s manual
  • Golf sleeve design

Outstanding Tasks

  • Create a simulation for a worst case scenario and analyze the forces generated at impact. For example, the forces generated against the club face when taking a large divot. Use that force to perform finite element analysis and find the largest stress concentrations.
  • Establish contact with a double arm amputee wounded warrior: Contact has been established with two double amputee golfers, John Lawson and Jim Taylor, however neither are wounded warriors. There is a wounded warrior golf course in Washington, but thus far we have had no luck finding a bilateral amputee
  • Testing: testing of our prototypes will be accomplished during fall quarter and possibly spring quarter. For the purposes of testing, we would like to fly Jim Taylor out to San Luis Obispo to test all three of our devices. If we don’t get enough feedback on our designs, we will use the forearm attachment, shown previously in the final design section, to finish up testing. With this device, we plan on hitting many balls on the range to see how well the device works and how we can make it better. More information about testing is located in the testing and construction section above.
  • Iterating the design: The design will need to be iterated many times to create the best solution. This will be done all throughout fall quarter.


Existing Products

Although current information regarding bilateral amputee golf prosthetics is limited, the need is still very apparent. Wounded veterans often suffer from anger, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder after returning home from combat; especially soldiers who suffer a life changing injury such as the amputation of both arms. Initially, an amputation sounds incredibly debilitating, but the strong will and determination of bilateral amputees goes above and beyond the general public’s expectations. In addition, golf has been shown to be an important part of the rehabilitation process for some amputees as mentioned in the Enterprise-Examiner, “(golf helps patients with) working on their balance and strength and their mental fitness”. Because of the physical and mental rehabilitation benefits of playing golf, it is imperative that a prosthetic device be engineered in a way that makes it easier for wounded warriors to start playing golf again.

Currently there are only a handful of designs for golf prosthetics that address the need of bilateral amputees. One design was found through a US patent search and is shown in Figure 1 below. This system is unique because it locks both prosthetic arms to each other so they remain in the same plane during a golf swing. The system provides radial and linear rotation during the backswing for a full range of motion. Two other designs that incorporate standard body powered prosthetic hooks are also shown on the following page.

Golf Prosthesis Final Design Report (P2)
Figure 1: United States Patent 6582473 for swing regulating mechanism and wrist emulator for assisting an amputee in swinging a golf club.

Another design, created by Ping for a quadruple amputee, involves a golf adaptation where the shaft of the club screws directly into the prosthetic of the amputee’s right arm. This design was then used to create a single unilateral swing motion.

TRS currently makes a golfing attachment for single arm amputees called the Eagle Golf TD, designed by Bob Radocy of TRS, that can create either a uni-lateral or bi-lateral (incorporating a wrist hinge) swing. A TRS grip has been donated by Bob Radocy to see if it could be incorporated into our design.

Other golfing adaptations have been created to assist double arm amputees by incorporating their hooks into the golf swing. Figure 4 is a device where the end of the golf club is inserted directly into the left prosthetic arm. Figure 5 is a device that clamps on the shaft of the golf club and attaches to the wrist of the left prosthetic arm.

Golf Prosthesis Final Design Report, golf

Jim Taylor, a double arm amputee, uses state of the art golf prosthetic equipment. He has special golf prosthetic arms that cost $10,000 and give him a unique advantage over other double arm amputee golfers. Figures 6 and 7 show the current prosthetics Jim Taylor uses.

Golf Prosthesis Final Design Report, golf 1After talking with Cal Poly Kinesiology Professor Kevin Taylor, it became apparent that the prosthetic design must not give the user a distinct advantage over a fully capable golfer. If an autonomous device is developed that swings the golf club for the amputee, then that device is taking away the skill level required for golf. This is also in accordance with the USGA regulation 14-3 which is located in the list of applicable standards section.

Finally, regardless of what we design, we are aware that current hook or claw prosthetics can also be used to actively and independently play golf with no modifications as proven by disabled Golfer Dan Balsiger. Dan plays golf with his standard prosthetic hooks using a unilateral swing motion. In addition, other double arm amputees have also made their mark in golf using other golf adapted prosthetics such as Jim Taylor. Jim is a disabled golfer from Longview, WA who actively competes in tournaments sponsored by the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA), and who has already recorded 17 hole-inones.

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