Students create adaptable canoe seat for campers with physical disabilities06/28/2019
Sometimes the smallest things have the biggest impact.
One example is how students at The University of Akron are helping kids at the Akron Rotary Camp better experience canoeing.
Students on the Engineering Design Team in UA’s College of Engineering built an adaptable seat for a canoe so children with special needs at the Akron Rotary Camp can safely experience canoeing despite any physical limitations they might have. The team also developed outriggers that can be attached to a canoe to improve its stability when in use.
The chair works by providing an adjustable reclined backrest, a center mounted moving cushion between the campers’ legs, and two support straps that run on either side. Overall, it helps users to sit comfortably and have additional support for their back, legs, waist and torso. The outriggers work by increasing the width and buoyancy of the canoe, making it nearly impossible to flip. In the case of an extreme case where the canoe did flip, the seat is constructed in such a manner that the user would not be physically restrained in any way, allowing for a safer exit.
“This seat will allow any camper to participate in another activity that they otherwise would not be able to perform without directly being supported by a counselor,” said project leader Garret Freund, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Wadsworth. “In other words, it’s helping those with physical disabilities or limitations to be more independent.”
The project has been in the making since fall 2017, with most of the needed materials purchased through the team’s fundraising or donated by individual team members. Some of the 10 team members presented the seat to members of the Akron Rotary Camp June 24.
The Engineering Service Design Team promotes teamwork and applications of engineering knowledge using design strategies to develop engineered solutions for nonprofit community organizations.
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Media contact: Alex Knisely, 330-972-6477 or email@example.com.