Independence through assistive devices

When someone says it’s impossible, I refuse to believe it. If there is a problem there is also always the potential to overcome it. Especially together.

An idea to improve independence

Ean lives with Muscular Dystrophy (MD): “I choke with a high risk of aspiration pneumonia and I need frequent oral suctioning of my mouth to remove saliva every 15-20 minutes. As a teenager I was given a suction machine. My caregiver would place the straw in my mouth and turn this suction machine on. That had to happen frequently throughout the day. It really had an impact on my independency.

So, finally, together with a good friend of mine, we designed the very first iteration of the C9000. I went into a hardware store to buy a retractable antenna, and the first thing the sales person pulled off the shelf was a Cadillac antenna. I thought: “Perfect!”

We built a contraption that we mounted onto my chair. We connected a suction mouthpiece to it, and then I would hit a button on my lap, and it would extend the antenna. That contraption lasted for about a week before it broke. I showed it to my dad, a helicopter engineer. Together we started working on a second iteration. And that concept is the one I still use today.”

Artist impression of the c9000

The development
of the C9000

Ean began work on the C9000, a battery powered portable assistive suction device, over 10 years ago. Since then, the initial design has proven to be a perfect device for Ean’s suction needs.


Ethical guidelines

Ean is passionate about keeping his invention an Open Source project. Collaboration and free access remain at the heart of anything Ean stands for.


Who we work with

I hope I am able to reach people globally, and help them obtain that same level of independence that I found when I started using the C9000. Keeping it as an Open Source project, I believe it is possible for local communities to be convinced to support people who could benefit from the device and help with the cost of fabrication.


Ideas that we work on

The initial C9000 model has pretty much stayed the same. While over the years it was necessary to replace some switches, the design and components Ean and his dad fabricated, are still the originals parts. Ean is now working on a future version with the goal to reduce the overall size of the unit because wheelchairs tend to have a lot of equipment on the back and space is at a premium. A newer version will also be easier to replicate.


The future

For the C9000 Ean is hoping that he will be able to increase the distribution. But even more so he is also working on some other assistive devices, of course also Open Source, that he will unveil in the near future. If you are interested to talk to us about the C9000 or any other assistive technology ideas, contact us. And keep checking back here for two new pieces of assistive technology in the pipelines!

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