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Category: Walking Disabilities

Supportive Playground Vehicle

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype supportive playground vehicle for a child with congenital myopathy who cannot hold her head and trunk upright without assistance and has little strength in her extremities. Designers developed a four-wheeled vehicle with pedals to drive the rear wheels and a handlebar to steer the front wheels. The vehicle also has a rear handlebar to allow a caregiver or assistant to push the child forward. The seat and seat pads are tailored to support the child safely and comfortably. The vehicle frame is taken from the Kettcar, a four-wheeled playground vehicle. The frame is made of durable, high-carbon steel. A gear and chain system is fully enclosed in a protective plastic case, and the wheels feature a long-lasting dual-layer safety tread. The supportive seat uses a modified Graco Turbo Booster seat. Six removable cushions were added to the seat: two side thigh cushions, two side head supports, a lumbar support, and a cylindrical neck support. The cushions are upholstered in mildew and water-resistant vinyl, and they are attached with Velcro for easy removal and adjustment. For added safety, the supportive seat also includes a custom seat belt made from nylon webbing. The seat belt is comprised of a lap belt and two shoulder straps, and the belt and straps are adjustable through plastic D-ring fasteners. The client handlebar is made from a length of metal conduit, 2 inches long and .075 inch in diameter, bent into an ergonomic shape for maximum comfort and ease of steering for the user. The handlebar is covered in sweat-and-shock-resistant cork tape, making it easy to grip. The assistant handlebar is made from a 7-inch length of 0.75-inch diameter metal conduit bent in a "U" shape so an assistant can comfortably push the vehicle. Also covered in cork tape, the assistant handlebar is removable, allowing for optional independent movement and minimizing size for storage and transportation. The height of the bar adjusts using a spring-plunger system to heights of 46 inches, 48 inches, and 50 inches. The width of the assistant handlebar is 22.5 inches. The pedals of the vehicle include an HDPE plastic base and a PVC heel cup, made from a 2-inch long, 4-inch diameter pipe cut, that is shaped and sanded. The pedal base measures 6.5 inches by 3.5 inches, and the heel cup measures 2.5 inches in height. A second base piece connects the custom pedal to the original pedal by compression; two wing nuts allow for adjustment of the fore and aft position. Finally, the pedals feature Velcro-adjustable canvas straps, securing the user's feet to the plastic base. The replacement cost for the device is approximately $300, not including the cost of the Kettcar. DIMENSIONS: Frame is 22 x 21 x 37 inches. TITLE: Supportive Playground Vehicle. JOURNAL: NSF 2010 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 7: pp. 58-59. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2010. http://nsf-pad.bme.uconn.edu/2010/CHAPTER%207%20DUKE%20UNIVERSITY.pdf.

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08/12/2013
Supportive Playground Vehicle
 
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