---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To design and assemble a wheelchair that is fun and visually appealing to children with disabilities. The Speedy Recovery Vehicle combines the functionality of traditional wheelchairs with the visually appealing design of racing dune buggies. The vehicle includes a custom-welded frame, smooth rolling wheels, a reclining seat, footrests, armrests, safety belt, an IV pole, storage area for an oxygen tank, and a colorful interactive steering wheel. Its small size makes it easy to store, and ideal for children in the two to six-year-old age group. The frame is constructed from 1 inch diameter aluminum tubing, making it lightweight and non-porous. Contoured handles make it easy for hospital staff to push the vehicle, and they can clean and sterilize it with traditional disinfectants made for non-porous equipment. The front caster wheels are solid polyurethane and 2 inch in diameter, while the rear pneumatic wheels have an 8 inch diameter. Custom welding of the frame was performed by KBC
Machine Shop (Sterling Heights, Michigan). The seat of the vehicle, like a wheelchair, can be reclined 30 degrees back from upright, in 5-degree increments by moving a retaining pin. The seat is made out of plywood and covered with high-quality foam and non-porous vinyl fabric. It easily supports the weight of a child in the 2-6 age group. The back support of the seat is 18 inches tall. The seat is 14 by 14 inches, and is 12 inches from the base of the vehicle. The frame is painted red, and racing stripes and a decorative logo are stitched into the seat fabric. The vehicle is 42 inches long and 16 inches wide, allowing it to be stored more easily than other devices available for children in the hospital. Two pairs of footrests are provided, both constructed from the same materials as the seat. One pair resides on the floor of the vehicle; 12 inches lower than the seat, and can support the child’s legs at a 90-degree angle. The other pair resides on the front of the vehicle, supporting a child’s extended legs. Either pair can be topped with an appropriate pillow to provide for different sized children. The steering wheel is mounted on a pivoting arm, so it can be rotated out of the way when placing a child inside the vehicle. It contains a cartoon of the highway that moves as the wheel is rotated and bright buttons with pictures of different animals that make sounds when pushed. An oxygen tank can be stored either in an upright position on a 4.5 inch wide metal platform at the rear of the vehicle, or at a 45-degree angle under the seat. A metal chain attached to the back of the seat prevents the oxygen tank from toppling when stored upright. A holding device is built underneath the seat for the
45-degree angle storage and the foot-rests serve as a ledge for the bottom of the tank. An IV pole, constructed from ½ inch aluminum tubing, extends 29 inches from the top of the seat of the vehicle. It contains a hook at the top that can support the IV. Aluminum armrests on each side of the seat prevent the child from falling out sideways. One end of each armrest is attached to the seat frame with a pin that can easily be removed by the hospital staff to move the armrest out of the way when placing a child inside. A safety belt is attached to the bottom seat cushion to secure the child firmly in the seat. Cost of the Speedy Recovery Vehicle was about $610. TITLE: Speedy Recovery Vehicle. JOURNAL: NSF 2006 Engineering Senior Design Projects to Aid Persons with Disabilities. REF: Chapter 7: pp.82-83. PAGES: 3 with cover. 2006.