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.
Adaptive Technologies built a CAD model on SolidWorks of the outrigger ski pole as the Proof of Concept. The purpose of building the outrigger ski pole on SolidWorks is so that Adaptive Technologies can run FEA simulations, dimension the ski pole, and test the strength of the materials to determine points of failure. Additionally, the Proof of Concept will give the instructions for fabrication, assembly, and testing procedures for the outrigger design. Adaptive Technologies aims to prove that the created design has been mechanically improved to reduce the failure in the product as well as increase the user friendliness and the safety of the product. This will allow the new and improved outrigger to perform more efficiently in all conditions creating a more reliable product that reduces injury to users. The design concept has potential for real-world application because outrigger ski poles are a current technology that is being used by disabled skiers across the world. The outriggers that will be designed will perform all applications that current outriggers perform, but more efficiently and effectively. The methodology and criteria that Adaptive Technologies will put into place for the outriggers will allow skiers to achieve their goals by using a more safe, secure, and durable outrigger that will perform all applications that disabled skiers need.
In order to improve on the existing outrigger designs, the issues with the existing designs need to be identified and accounted for. The Product Design Specifications (PDS) is a list of the design specifications based on the needs of the customers, as well as specifications created to optimize the design. The end user of the outriggers is the adaptive skier who uses them to ski, but when creating the PDS it is important to also consider the manufacturer and distributor.
The PDS is broken up into categories, the first one being the business constraints given by the customer. The only customer requirement in this category is that the cost must not exceed $1000. The second category is the customer requirements, and the main two customer requirements for the redesigned outrigger is improved safety compared to the original design as well as the ability of the design to function while skiing but also while training. The third category accounts for the requirements that the product must meet in order to function as an outrigger. The new outrigger design needs to be manufactured to fit each user and include safety features that are currently not available on the market. Also, the product must offer a low level of risk associated with its use.
The fourth category addresses the usability requirements for the outriggers. The product needs to be usable for all skill levels, and also be usable for users of all sizes. Additionally, the outrigger needs to perform better than the competitors in all conditions the user might encounter while skiing. The fifth category addresses the material specifications for the outriggers. The material or materials need to be lightweight and be able to withstand repeated applied force over the lifetime of the product. The product will also be used in an outdoor setting, so the material performance cannot be affected by low temperatures and the material cannot be toxic to the environment. PRS 9.1 and 9.2 are related to the design specifications from Category 5 in that they require that the product must be able to withstand regular loading and the material used must be recyclable.
Categories 7,8, and 10 detail the requirements placed on the distribution, packaging, and maintenance of the outriggers. Category 7 gives the requirements for packaging, and these requirements are that the packaging must be environmentally friendly and protect the outriggers from damage while it is being transported. Category 8 gives the labeling requirements for the outriggers. The labeling for the outriggers must warn of any potential hazards that may be present while in use, as well as being durable enough to stay on while in use. Additionally, the product must include a manual that details how to assemble and adjust the product. Category 10 gives the requirements on the products lifetime. While the lifetime of the outrigger will vary from user to user based on frequency of use and intensity of use, the product must be inspected regularly to ensure that there is no damage.
By identifying the qualities that the design for the outrigger must possess, a superior outrigger can be created. Many of these customer requirements are based on flaws in past designs, so creating an outrigger that satisfies these requirements will lead to the creation of a product that is competitive in the market. The outrigger will include an arm strap that will contain a breakaway system to prevent broken arms, a more ergonomic handle, a suspension system, interchangeable skis, and a flipski system. All the features listed do not exist in the competitor’s current outrigger ski poles, however there are outriggers that have handles and arm straps. The handles are not very ergonomic, and the arm straps don’t have a breakaway system.
The purpose of the project is to redesign the current outrigger ski pole in order to aid paraplegic athletes. The outrigger helps skiers with their balancing and initiating turns while also providing support and stability. Adaptive Technologies will redesign the outrigger ski pole by adding in a suspension system, an improved flipski function, a breakaway arm strap, interchangeable skis, and a more ergonomic handle. This product would be useful for the consumer because it will provide the skier with more safety and reduce the risk of injury. The product will also optimize the skier’s performance and provide them with more control and stabilization than other outrigger ski poles.
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.