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Lycra Hammock

My son goes to an occupational therapist regularly and one of the tools we use is a lycra hammock. It is an activity he enjoys, so it is an effective tool to encourage eye contact and interaction. He is rewarded with whatever activity on the hammock immediately when he asks while engaging in good eye contact or interaction. Then we will pause and look for more interaction.

Building a lycra hammock posed a couple challenges in a home. At the center the hammock is attached to the ceiling with eye bolts which are fastened through steel beams. Without that sort of hardware in our house, I chose the basement living area and figured on using the 2×10 floor joists as anchor points. The mounts are made of 3/4″ birch plywood with 3/4″ trailer hitch pins and attached to the basement floor joists. The cotter pins keep the hitch pins from slipping out of the mounts.

The lycra is 4-way stretch 122″ by 5 yards and folded into three layers. Each corner is tied into a knot. The knots serve to keep the lycra layers all aligned and as a connection point to the mounting hardware. 2′ of 1/2″ cotton rope is tied and looped around the knots in the lycra. This is a simple and effective way to allow disassembly for cleaning or repair. The knots are then slid through the small end of the carabiners, similar to how a jump rope is tied into a knot on the outer side of the handle. The carabiners hooked to the trailer hitch pins, though the one I used it is easier to undo the hitch pin and slide it through the carabiner.

The size of this hammock is quite a bit bigger than the ones at my son’s therapy. The fabric used there is 60″, rather than 122″. I compensated for that “oopsie” by folding the fabric 3 times and making the 122″ edge the long edge. I would certainly suggest using 60″ lycra instead of the 122″ lycra since the cost per yard is considerably less. You will probably want a couple more yards to get three layers of cloth, though two is probably sufficient, I think the three layers will leave room to grow (weight wise).

Concept Link

Lycra Link
4 Way Stretch Lycra

Music Links

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Arduino Resistor Ladder

Arduino projects make a great opportunity to enjoy with the children. The interactive nature of the projects allow the children to see that daddy isn’t just fiddling with wires, components, and the computer. So while they may not understand everything, being able to get their hands on various components helps to demystify the world of electronics. Kids seeing how easy it is to make electronics do various things, like even making noise, will hopefully encourage them to play on their own.

The project is quite simple and right out of the Arduino Starter Kit (07 Keyboard Instrument). The idea is a series of push button switches and resistors wired up to an analog input on the Arduino. The Arduino then checks in the input voltage from the resistor ladder and selects a static tone to send to the piezo.

I’ve posted the Arduino code for the project on github.