Dog News

Students Develop a Lamp Switch that Dogs can Use

by Melanie

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Students from the University of Ghent in Belgium have created a light switch to assist individuals with disabilities have an easier time turning lights on and off, by making it easier for their service dogs to use.

Things like turning on a lamp can be something often taken for granted.  You walk into a dark room, reach over to the wall or switch on the lamp, and turn the lights on.  Easy, right?  Things as simple as turning on a light can be quite a challenge for people with mobility issues or other disabilities.  This is where the new lever-based light switch comes in.

The switch is designed to work on a lever action, set at nose level.  This allows the dog to walk up to it, and use their nose to turn lights on and off.

Heleen Bartsoen has a special furry friend that helps her out with many daily tasks.  She is confined to a wheelchair, and was having problems with home lighting.  The switches, which were floor based push button style, were virtually impossible for either her or her service dog Gyproc to operate.  With the simple command of “veritas” from Heleen, Gyproc noses the lever, and the lights come on.  The switch is made tall enough so that if Gyproc is not around, Heleen can use the switch herself.

There were many prototypes considered and tested by the students before they decided on this design.  The switch was made from wood parts that were laser cut, and cement was added inside the box to help weigh it down, and keep it in place.  Also, there is no electrical engineering degree required to set the new switch system up.  Nothing needs to be rewired.  Simply place the lever over the floor switch, and that’s it.  You’re ready to go.

The complete process, from concept to final design is detailed in a blog the students kept throughout the process.  Click here to see more on that.

The result of all of the student’s hard work is a simple and easy to use design, which will help not just people with mobility issues, but their faithful service companions as well.