The Wallace Stand

An early exploration in fusing empowerment and creativity, I designed The Wallace Stand concept to benefit 10-year-old trumpet player Jahmir Wallace. Jahmir was born without arms but, in leveraging his remarkable toe dexterity, I chose to challenge traditional approaches to prosthetics; demonstrating how in adapting objects to people, versus people to objects, we can create more inclusive experiences.
Cinema 4D
Art 3101: 3D Modeling & Sculpture


The goal of this course was not to develop a product or address actual issues. But when learning new tools, I'm compelled to consider how I might apply them to solve tangible problems facing real people.
Seeing a boy without arms and having an assignment on prosthetics, a first notion might be to design artificial limbs. Instead, I sought to challenge the inclination to make disabled people more normal by fixing what they physically lack.
Language shapes how we think.
Ideating in terms of differently-abled is a perspective shift that encourages us to craft experiences to people's unique strengths instead of perceived weaknesses. It is not a matter of political correctness; rather, these types of definitional shifts in design can help us be more creative and impactful innovators.
Despite only being my 2nd Cinema 4D project, I chose to challenge myself in exploring this meaningful human-centered opportunity. Music can have broad educational and therapeutic benefits so I designed a way to make it accessible to Jahmir for years to come.


Source: Sue Beyer


Despite Jahmir's flexibility, I recognized internal strain that would affect his performance. Improper posture restricts the rise and fall of one's diaphragm; limiting the volume of air one can pull into the lungs and push through the instrument. This could become a more serious limitation as he grows physically and wishes to advances his musicianship. My aim was to develop a device that would adapt and grow with him to maximize his musical potential.

Proper Playing Posture | Adobe Illustrator

Asset Design | STL Captures

All elements modeled from scratch unless otherwise noted

Hands Free

The primary functions of a trumpet player's hands is to keep the horn in place and to manipulate the valves. Both can be achieved by alternative means:

A removable clamp affixes to the instrument to provide the solid grip necessary to assure a steady position. Surfaces which contact the horn to be covered in soft padding to prevent scratches and dampen vibrations.

Three linear actuators control the depression and release of the trumpet's piston valves in their various combinations. In this initial iteration, solenoids were utilized; however, quieter options or an insulated housing could be investigated upon testing.

Telescoping Arm

The clamp's neck attaches to the stand's main shaft; consisting of two nested hex tubes to prevent rotation and improve grip. This telescoping feature enables the trumpet's vertical position to adapt to a musician's height. As Jahmir was only ten, it was important to design something that could grow with the user over time.
This also creates a moment arm from the base of the stand as the user's lips press against the instrument. The design allows for movement that comes with the emotionality of musical performance. With feet now on the ground, the user can vary the counterforce applied to the base; enabling a synchronous, controlled motion between horn and player.

Keys & Base

Rotor keys receive input from the player's toes—not unlike digital piano keys do for fingers—and trigger the corresponding piston valve actuators. Users can perform whilst their feet remain on the ground; maintaining recommended playing posture.
These keys are fitted in a custom trumpet case which functions as the base of The Wallace Stand. This integrated case houses the microcontroller and electronics that handle I/O between the rotors and actuators as well as the foot operated height control for the telescoping shaft.


This project was successful in that it provoked conversation and shifted thinking. My professor loved this direction so much that he connected me with a graduate student who similarly shared an interest in adaptive instruments. Though the final year of our respective programs forced us to table our collaboration, I still hold a strong desire to return to this space someday; at least as a passion project.
Adaptive approaches such as these have the potential to increase access to music for many groups experiencing mobility or dexterity limitations. Beyond congenital factors, I'd like to explore and tailor solutions for veterans, seniors, trauma survivors, and those living with a developmental disability or degenerative disease who may too find joy or healing though music.

Enhanced Posture | Cinema 4D

"What a fantastic endeavor...I love that you put [your stand] in a case that, well, looks like a trumpet case. [It] doesn't look odd or out of place. It's very consistent and a natural integration for the whole [learning/perfomance] experience."

– Ken Rinaldo