Adaptive Technologies has decided to collaborate with the High Fives Foundation for their project. The foundation works to raise awareness for injury prevention and also helps provide inspiration to those with life-altering injuries. The foundation is currently working on helping people who are disabled get outdoors in order to participate in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. In order to accomplish this, the disabled skiers are given specialized outrigger ski poles that include an arm support, a hand grip, and a small ski on the bottom for trackable support. Unfortunately, the current outrigger design has many mechanical issues that limit its functionality. During use, these poles can be very hard on the arm joints of the user due to the lack of shock absorption. An additional safety hazard is that the outrigger poles have a forearm support strap that provides rigidity and control, but does not have a release function causing many users to injure themselves upon crashing. They also limit the terrain that skiers are able to ride on due to the inability to interchange the style of ski that is mounted. There is also a “skiflip” function on the outrigger that changes the position of the ski perpendicular to the ground’s surface rather than parallel so that the user is able to use the outrigger as a “traditional” ski pole used to push themselves from point A to point B. The problem is that when this function is exposed to the freezing elements, it locks up and is unusable. Adaptive technologies will design, test, and develop a modified pole that will lessen the stress on the joints of the users, increase the safety of use, allow for more accessible terrain, and maintain functionality under all extreme weather conditions.
In order to combat the problems Adaptive Technologies will implement a number of design specifications. The pole will have suspension to help prevent damage to arm joints. The arm strap will have a failure release system to avoid broken arms and other similar injuries. The pole will feature a universal coupling, allowing interchangeability of different ski tips. The “skiflip” function will perform effectively regardless of ice build up or moisture. The handle of the pole will include a comfortable and functional ergonomic grip. Adaptive Technologies will apply all of these specifications to current outrigger technology in order further open the sport to those with life-altering disabilities.
Proof of Concept
The industry that the product belongs to is skiers with muscle and leg deficiencies, amputations, and issues with balancing. The main competitors are Enabling Technologies and Hands On Concepts. Enabling Technologies focuses on skiing technology for disabled athletes. Hands On Concepts develops products in multiple sporting fields with an emphasis on adaptable technologies. For entering the industry, the team has met with industry professionals to discuss the market and its primary customers. Most of the team members are involved and participate in the skiing and snowboarding industry. This gives the team a knowledgeable background on how ski equipment works, what it is used for, and the conditions and environments that it will be used in. The teams background will also allow for thorough testing of the teams prototypes. Most customers do not frequently buy outriggers because they are fairly expensive, so most purchases occur before the season begins, with a small number of new outriggers being purchased during the ski season due to damage. As the outriggers are designed to be used on snow, most of the customers are located near mountain towns with ski resorts nearby.
Testing and Results
Meet the Team
Ajay Bhatia is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno that is pursuing his Bachelor’s of Science degree. Ajay is from Reno, Nevada. The most challenging engineering project that Ajay has been involved in is the hovercraft project for Engineering 100. The engineering skills that Ajay has improved on during his academic career are problem solving, critical thinking, and engineering programs such as SolidWorks, Matlab, and Microsoft Office. Ajay is proud of reaching the State Championship for track and field in high school for the 4×1 relay and long jump events. An example of when Ajay applied his analytical techniques was for designing a hovercraft for Engineering 100 and designing a bridge made out of balsa wood that had to withstand a certain amount of force for Engineering 241. Ajay’s current goals include successfully completing his senior capstone project. After graduation, Ajay would like to explore different opportunities and gain ideas for his engineering career.
Matthew Phillips is a senior mechanical engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno. For the last three years, Matthew has been an engineering intern at GCX Mounting Solutions located in Petaluma, California. He has worked in all elements of the company, from prototyping to installations. The most challenging engineering project that he faced while working at GCX was redesigning an existing support arm for a new customer in a short time span. This task involved many hours of design changes and machine time. He has strengthened his skills in the mechanical design process along with improving time management and communication skills. Matthew built and designed a 3D printed shift knob and other various custom automotive components that helped with performance and style. for his car that He loves to travel and spends most of his free time golfing or snowboarding. Matthew is from Rohnert Park, California, which is about an hour north of San Francisco. His goals now are to finish school and obtain a Bachelors in Science in mechanical engineering. He plans on working with GCX right out of college and then transfer into the automotive industry afterwards.
Ryan Dailey is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ryan is originally from Reno, and decided to stay to pursue a degree in nursing but switched to Mechanical Engineering in the fall of 2015. The most challenging engineering project Ryan has worked on was the hovercraft project from Engineering 100. Ryan used his knowledge of engineering principles to design and build a hovercraft that was able to navigate a course using sensors and also Ryan helped design and build a bridge out of balsa woods that was able to support over 250lbs. Since beginning school, Ryan has greatly improved his ability to use programs such as Matlab and SolidWorks to analyze systems. Ryan is an avid climber and has climbed many difficult boulder problems in the Tahoe area. After graduation, Ryan plans on remaining in Reno and getting a job in the mechanical engineering field.
Lane Bennett is a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in Science Mechanical Engineering degree. He originally grew up in Palmdale, California. In his past engineering career Lane has worked with a team of engineers to design designed a fully autonomous hovercraft. This project required intricate design specifications derived from specific air flow calculations. This project also required extensive coding that operated an assortment of sensors and motors to help the hovercraft perform its functions. The hovercraft navigated a course using ultrasonic and light sensors that ultimately led it to a final destination. Throughout Lane’s engineering career he has improved on and developed many engineering skills. Some of these include proficiency in Microsoft Excel, LabView, Matlab, Simulink, and SolidWorks, which are programs used to help track results, code systems, and design and analyze three dimensional models and electrical systems. Lane is an outdoor activist and enjoys fishing, whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, and snowboarding. Lane’s current goals are to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree. Once graduated, he wants to work as an engineer in the Peace Corps and then continue his goal of becoming a municipal firefighter.
Alden Peterson is currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno in order to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree. Alden was born in Sacramento, California and moved to Reno, Nevada in 2003. During his engineering career, Alden has worked on various hands on projects including designing a hovercraft that could navigate a course using light sensor and a balsa wood bridge that could hold 240 pounds. While in school Alden has learned to use various engineering programs such as Solidworks, Matlab, Excel, and Simulink. Alden has passed the exam for to be a Certified Solidworks Associate (CSWA). While not at school Alden enjoys cycling and climbing. Alden’s current goal is to complete his Mechanical Engineering degree. After graduation Alden plans to pursue employment in Reno to further his engineering career.