12-Article Conner BikeThatWorksForAllKids-S12

Design approach selected for adjustable hand cycle

We recently met with the adaptive sports experts at No Limits Kids Fitness to choose one of several design approaches for our hand cycle.

The gym was full of UW-Madison kinesiology students and their clients. They asked a lot of excellent questions and provided great feedback about the designs.

The goal of our project, which is supported through a crowdfunding campaign named Lend a Handcycle, is to design and build a prototype hand cycle that is fully adjustable for children with physical disabilities as they grow. Concepts were created to accommodate a wide range of sizes and abilities – from the fifth percentile of height and weight for 12-year-old girls to the 95th percentile for 17-year-old boys. Given that children grow out of bikes as they age and hand cycles cost several thousand dollars, cycling has been too expensive for many families with physically challenged children. Our bike is designed to make cycling more physically and financially accessible.

A demonstration of seat and hand pedal adjustability in the design.
12-ARTICLE Craig ChrisTim Teaching-H1
Tim Gattenby (left) of No Limits Kids Fitness discusses the potential alterations needed to accommodate the scissor-jack design on an adult hand cycle with Design Concepts mechanical engineer Chris Strahm.
12-ARTICLE Craig Teaching-H1
Craig Conner, Director of Human Factors, describes the project and processes used to create several design approaches to a group at the UW Natatorium.
12-Article Conner BikeThatWorksForAllKids-S11
The scissor-jack seat mechanism in its collapsed and forward position.
12-Article Conner BikeThatWorksForAllKids-S10
The seat pushed back to accommodate larger children.
12-Article Conner BikeThatWorksForAllKids-S9
A rear view of the seat in a raised position that clearly shows the scissor- jack mechanism.

The selected design uses a scissor-jack mechanism to adjust the seat. It's like the car jack you carry in your trunk. The advantages? Using a hand crank, a helper from No Limits Kids Fitness could adjust height and seat angle while the child is sitting on the bike. The disadvantage? The scissor-jack mechanism weighs twice as much as a gas spring, which may make it harder to transport and take a little more effort from the child to get it rolling.

Based on feedback, some adjustments will be made to the design. We hope to begin building the prototype by the end of the year so it is available for next year's No Limits Kids Fitness summer camp.

Once we start building the prototype, we'll share lots of pictures.

To everyone who contributed and has spent long hours on this project, thank you. We're getting closer to that first prototype. The best reward will be seeing kids enjoying it. What our partners at No Limits Kids Fitness learn from using this prototype will help make the next generation of hand cycles serve more kids who want them.

Face Shield on Mannikin for Banner
Top 5 lessons from Badger Shield project
Badger Shield gave me the opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of men and women this year – designers, suppliers, manufacturers, and customers. I expect to have built lifelong collaborators and friends through this trial by virus. (For background, read the article in Wired).
UW Handoff
Operation #BadgerShield
Since we posted a blog post talking about how the Open Source Face Shield project had started to supply the University of Wisconsin hospitals with this critical personal protection equipment (PPE), our team has had little time to breathe.
06 Article Strahm Make A Wish B
Pushing each other along
Though we work in the service industry for larger corporations on a day-to-day basis, some of my favorite opportunities come in the form of community work.
06 Case Study Dexcom Librarian
“Wait. Is that it? Did the needle already go in? I can’t believe it!”
06 Article Corin Sewing B
The foreign language of sewing
One of the special skill sets I love being able to utilize at Design Concepts and for projects at home is sewing.
06 Article Kallsen Do The Math H1
Do the math!
In a world where we can go from a CAD model to a 3D printed part well within a typical working day, it’s easy to get excited about just how fast one can iterate and explore design alternatives.