Handsfree Icebucket Challenge Backpack

Hands Free Icebucket Challenge from Christopher Lewis on Vimeo.

My good friend KC Roberts challenged me to participate in the Icebucket Challenge. I made a handsfree icebucket backpack. It’s a little impractical, but a lot awesome.

The success ALS charities are experiencing is surprisingly contentious. Many of the arguments I’ve read against support are trivial, with the exception of animal testing. Since I’m not aware of the nature of animal testing that ALS researchers perform, I have no idea if it’s something that could be avoided. As important as the issue is, I’ve consciously decided that it won’t deter me from offering my support.

I’ve chosen to support ALS Canada because I know that a portion of the money goes towards Augmentative/ Alternative Communication (AAC) device programs. I think the cost and ubiquity of Maker-friendly technology means that we can revolutionise much of the hardware that’s being used. Many neurodegenerative or similar degenerative disease (like MS, Parkinson’s, etc.) result in changes to a person’s abilities over time. I think it would be amazing to live in a world where a maker who has a neurodegenerative disease could fashion bespoke tools and devices to maintain a high level of interaction. I know where to start – with sites like thecontrollerproject.com but I need to work on the rest of the path.

I’ve long been interested in the technology used by persons with ALS. AAC devices are amazing pieces of technology that help people communicate or interact using touch/ motion switches, pupil tracking, headmouse devices, blowtubes, etc. Amazingly, speech-generating devices have been around since the mid-70s!

Knowing how simple many of these devices are, I’m interested to see how the maker community responds to the Icebucket Challenge. An Arduino and a blowtube could be a fairly enabling combination – you can even make the Arduino behave as a replacement mouse, so the difficult part in making these solutions comes from the usability side, not the hardware/ fabrication side.

For the tech, I’m using:
- 6v Lantern Battery
- 9v Battery
- Arduino Uno
- Adafruit MPL115A2
- Keyes Relay Shield (any relay will do)
- Scrap motor from Active Surplus

#include <Wire.h>
#include <Adafruit_MPL115A2.h>

Adafruit_MPL115A2 mpl115a2;
int Relay = 3;

int sampleAmount = 100;
int numberSampled = 0;
float sampleTotal;
float pressureAverage;
float triggerDifference = 2;
void setup(void)

Serial.println(“Getting barometric pressure …”);

pinMode(Relay, OUTPUT); //Set Pin3 as output
digitalWrite(Relay, LOW); //Turn off relay

void loop(void)
float pressureKPA = 0, temperatureC = 0;
pressureKPA = mpl115a2.getPressure();

if (numberSampled < sampleAmount){
sampleTotal += pressureKPA;
numberSampled ++;
float averagePressure = (sampleTotal/sampleAmount);
float pressureDifference = abs(pressureKPA-averagePressure);

if(pressureDifference > triggerDifference){
digitalWrite(Relay, HIGH); //Turn off relay
digitalWrite(Relay, LOW);
Serial.print(“Pressure (kPa): “); Serial.print(pressureKPA); Serial.print(” kPa”); Serial.print (” Average kPa: “); Serial.println(averagePressure);

//temperatureC = mpl115a2.getTemperature();
//Serial.print(“Temp (*C): “); Serial.print(temperatureC, 1); Serial.println(” *C”);


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4 Responses to Handsfree Icebucket Challenge Backpack

  1. Pingback: Making the Ice Bucket Challenge accessible to all | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  2. Pingback: The Handsfree Icebucket Challenge Backpack | Hack The Planet

  3. Pingback: Handsfree Icebucket Challenge Backpack! #WearableWednesday #IceBucketChallenge « adafruit industries blog

  4. Pingback: Community Corner – August 29, 2014: The Featured Projects from this Week « adafruit industries blog

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