Climbing for Arm Amputees

Abstract

Several rehabilitation centers includes climbing as a way to get back into shape and prevent strain injuries related to arm amputations. Unfortunately, the gear available today is limited in use and do not live up to the harsh handling that the climbing environment demands and therefore puts the user at risk.

The goal for this project was to provide a solution that gives the absolute best condition for the athlete's progression and skill when climbing. The solution considers all parts of sport climbing including handling of the rope while belaying to better friction and gripping possibilities when climbing, as well as the social context of trends and behavior. The solution enhances the availability of climbing so that people with an arm amputee can challenge themselves and experience the joy and sense of achievement that climbing provides.

Inspiration and Method

Climbing have been a great passion of mine and to contribute to the evolving of the sport have been a great motivation for me.

A lot of the project development comes from continually building, testing and evaluating prototypes with the user in the field. Evaluation methods also includes a checklist for necessary functions, testing towards the user journey and safety regulations. Creative methods like brainstorming workshop together with fellow students and students from other fields have been used for gaining a higher as well as broader range of ideas.

Result

The Final Concept can be divided into two parts: Grip and Harness & attachment.

Harness and attachment
The harness provides support so that it is possible to hang after the prosthethic without falling out. The harness is fully adjustable making it wearable with different types of clothing and body sizes. The harness attaches to any arm prosthethic using a metal ring and a velcro strap.

The attachment part serve mainly three functions:, the connection between the climber, harness and prosthethic, protecting the prosthethic arm from scratches and damage and a friction area for more advanced climbing.

Grip x 2
For this project i have developed two grips one for climbing and one for belaying, but the option for future grips is possible due to the use of the standard attachment (Rottary) that exists on every arm prosthethic.

Grip for Climbing
The grip consider the different holds you would meet on a climbing wall. The grip itself have two sides and can rotate to provide a bigger range of gripping possibilities. The challenge was to be able to grip on big round slopers. The solution to this problem was to let the grip work toghether with the attachment part to create a longer friction area.

Grip for Belaying
The belaying grip replaces the hand grip that you would normally use while handeling the rope below the belay device (standard equipment). It grips the rope with a wedge and a rope guide when force is put on the rope, but slides along the rope otherwise. This let’s you move your arm as you normally would while feeding the rope in the belay routine. Angeling the rope down locks the rope position in the belay device and prevents the climber from falling to the ground.