Low Profile Switch

Project Idea:
I am one of the Engineering interns at MMC and am currently working on developing a low-profile switch for our library. Looking at switches like the MMC60 and Interact switch on the library they are not ideal for individuals that cannot lift their hand to the height required to activate the switch. The Open Rocker switch is a lower profile switch but has two outputs. Combining these ideas and recognizing the gap in the library from user feedback we have begun pursuing a low profile switch design.

Design Requirements:

  • 40-60 mm activation area
  • Lower profile than switches in the library (under 24 mm)
  • Activation force comparable or lower than Interact Switch.
  • Ease of Maker manufacturability (i.e. accessible parts, no complex fabrication such as laser cutting, easy 3D print design, etc)

Support Needed from Community:
I am mainly looking for user input at this point. So if you or any individuals you know use switches it would be great to have their perspective on this design. Specifically around mounting, activation area, height requirements, customization for switch buttons. If you want to connect through this forum post that would be great, alternatively you can email me at tylerf@neilsquire.ca

If you have a design for a low profile switch it would also be great to collaborate! There are limited DIY solutions for this but we did find this switch.

There are also commercial options that have a lower height than our interact and MMC60 switch on the library such as:

Pal plate switch

button click switch

gumball switch

I also just wanted to tag @ChapterLeaders in case any of you could give feedback on this or had any connections for potential users

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@loretodalt @Butzuk @lyonsm just wanted to connect with you all on this to see if you had any connections for potential users/disability professionals for some feedback on a switch like this. Since this is just in the ideation stage, getting input from users would be great to have here :slight_smile:

Hi @MMC_Tyler I think this is a great project to pursue! I’m off this summer but we are running a summer school program and may be able to print and share with some therapists that are working over the summer if you need. Along with the other specs above, since you might be starting from scratch I think it would be amazing if we could have a no solder option that connect the switch and audio cable via some o these possible options:

I think there are other ones as well but those require a heat gun which may not be readily available.

Let me know how I can help!

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Hi @loretodalt! Thank you so much for the feedback on this! I will keep you in mind for printing and trialling the device for sure! When is the summer program starting?

As for the no solder option, is it advantageous to have a design like the MMC60 switch where the audio cable can be plugged into the 3.5mm audio jack? or is it better to have it be directly attached to the switch like for example the Light Touch Switch but use different connectors like you mentioned in your post?

@janellesingh Whoops I missed tagging you in one of the previous posts! But if you have any recommendations/potential user input on a device like this please let me know. I am currently aiming for a height like the Gumball switches or a bit lower. I am just working on the electrical components (jack and switch) and mechanical components to create the switch. Big questions for me right now has to do with the question of how much force should it take to push the switch and what the users would want out of a switch like this

Hi Tyler @MMC_Tyler,

You might find this wired switch guide helpful?Wired switch guide . It gives an idea of surface area, activation force for each switch, as well as a number of other things. As for the amount of force someone would need, it would depend on diagnosis and what body part the user would be activating the switch with, hands, head, knee etc. Someone who has a lot of tone (CP) might need something to withstand a lot of force i.e 5.5/156 oz/g, or someone with a neurological condition (ALS) typically needs something that takes less force 0.4/10 oz/g. If you are using switches at the head less force would be ideal. Hope this helps.

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@janellesingh Thanks for the insight and that switch guide! We actually recently put together our own switch guide on our website so that is super helpful.

I think with the force it might be beneficial to look into a modular design where you have some type of flexure device that acts as a spring and could be swapped out for a “low, medium, and high” force. Do you think that would be a desired feature for users?

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@MMC_Tyler That’s awesome I didn’t realize there was a switch guide on the website. Having different activation forces to select would be beneficial especially with someone who might lose strength/endurance throughout the day. I could see that being useful.

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Okay thanks for all the info @janellesingh. When I get a prototype would you be open to me dropping one or two off for some testing? expecting to have prototype for the end of the month

@MMC_Tyler Yes for sure. That’d be great! I’m away at the end of the month but I’ll be back beginning of Aug.

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I think a no solder option would be amazing as well!!

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Hi all–

Sorry was AFK as the kids like to say for a few days. I think an option to grade the force would be great and perhaps printing options for surface area activation. If placed near the head smaller surface if placed near the knee larger, etc. I’m not sure if you can just switch out the button being used to grade the force? I’ll leave that up to your fabulous engineering know-how!

As for the jack option, I personally feel like it’s easier to keep track of just one component, being the audio cable that’s directly connected to the button/ switch. Although the jack option dues make the switch more durable as per the MMC 60 solution, I wonder if the audio cables that connect to it will be lost over time? I can try and set up a survey around to see what people think.

Summer school goes on till mid August and we are back full time again in September. Excited to see what shakes out!

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Did you see this @MMC_Stephen?

Yes, Tyler pointed this out to me, thanks!

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Tahnk you again for all the input @loretodalt! Yeah custom button tops seems to be a desirable feature from the input I have received. Both on the interact switch and MMC60 have that option as well.

It would be great if you could set up the survey and send it out to switch users or any contacts you have to compare if having the cable built in is better than having a jack. Thank you so much for this and let me know if you need any help on this!

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kk! I’m sending out a Google Form survey to the various AT providers. I’ll let you know what I find out :wink:

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