Purdue University Graduate School
Thesis with Dr. Dunlap revisions.pdf (1.31 MB)

An Experimental Study for Safety of a New Dynamic Head Support Device for Individuals with Chronic Muscle Diseases

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posted on 2019-08-15, 18:08 authored by Devon J PesslerDevon J Pessler

Neck braces and head supports used today do not allow wearers to rotate their head while maintaining the support they need. For people with chronic muscle diseases, such as ALS, DHS, Myasthenia Gravis, and Muscular Dystrophy, this inconvenience greatly affects their quality of life in that it hinders their abilities to perform activities of daily living, such as nonverbal communication and knowing their surroundings outside without having to move their entire body. There is a need for a head support device that allows individuals with chronic muscle diseases to rotate their heads, so they may better perform daily activities of living and thus live a more fulfilling life.

The purpose of this study was to assess the basic stance of safety of a dynamic head support device that allows individuals with chronic muscle diseases to rotate their heads left and right. The assessment includes an experimental procedure that will conclude whether this device can withstand the load equivalent to an average adult’s head in a stationary position and a dynamic movement.

This research proposed a procedure that has a testing apparatus that will place a predetermined load onto the dynamic head support device to stabilize it and then continuously add weight that was checked incrementally. This load was placed on the device while it was centered and static first. The next step in this procedure is to assess whether or not the load on the device can be carried while dynamically moving on the race of the radial sliding track of the device. The data recorded from this experiment will provide the necessary information to determine whether the basic safety requirement of load capacity for a medical device such as the one in this proposed research is met.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Engineering Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Mark French

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Dr. James Condron

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Pamela Karagory

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