Dual-telescoping RampLightweight, portable ramp helps wheelchair users navigate bumps, steps, and curbs
Four engineering freshman collaborated on this project for Design Thinking and Communication (DTC). The challenge: develop a product that improves the lives of wheelchair users and their caretakers.
While many public spaces have become wheelchair accessible, wheelchair users still have difficulty navigating steep curbs and broken sidewalks, and even many ramps are not user friendly.
We want to tackle the problem of stepping over curbs, which can be difficult for wheelchair users. Even when ramps do exist, it can be difficult to roll up them. It’s tiring. , Dual-telescoping Ramp, Co-creator
A portable, dual-telescoping ramp that can be carried and set up by a caretaker while on the go. Each set comprises two ramps — one for each wheel — that can be stacked and stored in a condensed manner.
- Telescoping mechanism allows ramp to expand to six feet, long enough to tackle curbs or two or three stairs
- It has a locking mechanism that is fast to operate and keeps the ramp safe and stable
- Each piece of the ramp has short walls on the edges to keep the wheelchair from rolling off the sides
- Lightweight and easy to carry
The Design Thinking and Communication course challenged the freshman team to develop a product to help wheelchair users. After talking with and observing wheelchair users and their caregivers at Lambs Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities, the team narrowed down the broad problem to address curbs. Although their first prototype broke under the weight of a wheelchair, they refined their locking mechanism to create a successful model.
The team’s current prototype is wood, which is still bulky and heavier than ideal. They plan to make their next model out of lightweight aluminum or plastic to make it easier to carry.
Updated May 2016
TeamWilliam Barron (computer science), Paul Klatt (mechanical engineering), Nathan Miller mechanical engineering), Millie Rosen (chemical engineering, art)
Community PartnerLambs Farm