USU Students Design Devices to Help Solve ‘Real-World’ ProblemsBy Opsahl, Kevin; Herald Journal,
Publication Date: February 29, 2012
Article describes engineering projects at Utah State University aimed at assisting seniors and individuals with disabilities in carrying out everyday tasks. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Engineering Design to Aid Aging Persons (EDAAP) allows engineering students in collaboration with users to design assistive devices. The article focuses on two projects: (1) a mechanical creeper that allows a man with a lower limb disability to work underneath his car. The creeper, which is powered by the motor from a drill, is fitted with a 5 foot long padded seat. At the push of a button, it drops down to a full horizontal position in 40 seconds, allowing the user to lie 2.5 inches off the ground and slide under his car to perform work such as an oil change; and (2) a patent-pending wheelchair lift that helps a caretaker lift a wheelchair and stow it in the trunk of a car. The folded wheelchair is placed into the upright lift, after which, when the user pushes a crank, the lift slowly pulls itself back into the trunk and locks into place. At the time the article was published, those working at the Assistive Technology Lab at the university were asking individuals to contact them with problems encountered in helping elderly people, so that the program could come up with engineering solutions. Contact information is included in the article.
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