The Biomedical Engineering Technologists at BCITS love a creative challenge to further stretch the independence of people with physical disabilities…striving to ensure that “Everyone has equal opportunity to maximize their independence.”
Recently, a local non-profit posed a very curious problem…one of their clients wanted to operate an electric fishing reel with a sip and puff switch. This type of reel has the line enclosed in a compartment and releases with the push of a button.
We began by looking into breaking the reel down and soldering wires directly to the board. However, a fishing reel is actually a very complex piece of engineering. Almost at once it became clear the initial soldering plan was not going to be feasible.
After some discussion we moved to an external solution that wouldn’t require us to open the reel compartment at all. Instead we decided to use a pneumatic transducer (puff switch) and a solenoid, in conjunction with some ABS plastic. This solution made it possible to release the button on the reel with a simple puff.
One week after completing the project, we received confirmation that the reel had been used to catch the clients first ever sturgeon!
There were smiles all around, in the picture and in our shop!