The team behind this project used tools of discovery, documentation, matrix comparison, and CAD modeling to solve locomotion problems for 18-34 year-olds.
Design Methodology introduced me to a familiar design process, but with an engineering twist. The final project in the class followed the entire design process to create a product that would aid in the locomotion of an 18-34 year old user through his or her hometown. Each step of the process included team deliverables for documentation. The first stage was one of discovery. Both interviews and focus groups were conducted to identify user pain points and needs of users. My personal documentation of this research can be found below. The feedback we obtained was used to create a hierarchical list of customer needs. Price, reliability, size, were commonly in the top five most important issues when selecting a way to get around. This research generated jumping-off points of conversation including the dichotomy of travel as leisure or travel as simply getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. As the team began to see patterns in the data, we established constraints and target specifications for factors such as weight limit, speed, volume, cost, and effort. This basic framework allowed us to brainstorm a wide range of ideas. These concepts covered a broad array of possibilities to maneuver through a hometown, but had a lack of focus.
Our focus came after observing students with injuries struggling to get around campus. Injuries could make even simple tasks such as opening a classroom door difficult. After talks about how to move forward, we moved forward with developing projects targeted at this group of injured students, specifically on mobility during the injury. We benchmarked competitive products for both movement and injury aids. Each team member then generated concepts, some of which can be seen below. Modifying concepts through discussions, we selected five promising ideas to directly compare and ranked them based on our constraints such as speed, scope of injury protection, and ease of use. This objective scoring matrix ranked the Solo Roller the most suitable solution for our needs based on our initial feedback.
The Solo Roller is an adapted wheelchair concept with two unique features: standing assistance and hand-crank propulsion. These seek to solve the problems of standing up out o a typical wheelchair and the often inconvenient rail style of most modern wheelchairs. A ratchet gear system similar to a bike allows for the use of hand cranks to move forward with ease. When it's time for the user to get out of the chair, a spring-loaded seat gives enough boost to stand up without any pain to the injured body part. See this video for a demonstration.
The last part of this project was a 30 second sales pitch, performed in front of class by myself and Conor, to describe the idea and display our work.
Team Members: Kelsey Cummings, Tony Kestel, Dante Monterosso, Conor Triplett