Master's Thesis Defense - Kaysha Young
- Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 11:30am
- Western Transportation Institute, Room 347 - view map
Kaysha Young Thesis Proposal Defense: Human Factors Design of Components for a Child’s Wheelchair for Developing Countries
Background: It is estimated that at least 100 million disabled people in the world whose lives would be improved with a wheelchair cannot afford one; approximately 10 percent of these are children. ROC Wheels is a non-profit organization that provides wheelchairs to children regardless of age in developing countries. Their innovative wheelchair adapts to fit a growing child. This project’s aim is to develop three components for these wheelchairs that will greatly improve the quality of life of the children who receive these wheelchairs.
Objectives: The first objective is to develop, a low-cost alternative to the push-to-lock brakes found on traditional wheelchairs. The brake is to be moved from the current support bar to the wheelchair main from, this necessary change will decrease the wheelbase width allowing for easier self-propulsion for more children. The chair can tilt into three positions, a brake system that can transition along the wheelchair frame and lock the wheel in place regardless of tilt angle does not exit. The second objective is to further develop a current concept design of a headrest accessory that will benefit children that do not have the muscle strength to keep their head upright. Currently head stability is controlled by chair tilt resulting in children having to look at the ceiling for the majority of the day. This accessory would allow for head stability while in any tilt position. The third objective is to design an attachment that would allow the wheelchair to connect to a bicycle to make the wheelchair more mobile. Automobiles are scares in these countries, however bike transportation is prevalent, and this device will allow the wheelchairs to travel greater distances faster. In order to align with ROC Wheels requirements, the following features are needed; ease of assembly and maintenance, low learning curve, and user friendliness. To ensure that the components are correctly sized and positioned anthropometrics will be utilized.
Methods: These three components will be designed and tested in the lab and at local therapy facilities. Children using wheelchairs and their caregivers will evaluate the product based on the aforementioned human factors principles as well as general product emotion and aesthetic characteristics. Upon completion of this project there will be three prototypes to support these designs and testing results to validate the proposed designs. These component designs will be presented to ROC Wheels and if selected they will be implemented onto the second generation of their wheelchair for future delivery to children in need.
Impact: This research and design project has the ability to impact the society where these children reside by improving the quality of their lives and that of their families. The ease of transportation afforded by these wheelchairs will make it easier for children to attend school and to be mobile alongside their parents. These products could advance the current designs in the wheelchair industry.
- Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering