Engineering feat for final-year students
FOURTH-year Engineering students displayed months’ worth of hard work on ingenious design projects at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s annual Mechanical Engineering Open Day recently.
Bryan Kelly, Joel Patchy, Suveer Sampat and Timoan Viriah were tasked with designing and building a recumbent collapsible hand-bicycle for paraplegic operators.
Major design considerations involved were those of the prescribed vehicle operator and their related limitations, the intended operating conditions, as well as a method of collapsing for transportation. The final design had to be safe and light enough for a paraplegic person to operate and collapse independently.
The project involved the team’s application of engineering principles to ensure the device would be strong, safe, and simple to operate and assemble. The design was inspired by commercially available exercise or transport bicycles. The students were tasked with producing a vehicle that rivalled current commercially available vehicles, but for a fraction of the cost.
The vehicle was a popular drawcard at the Open Day. It received a prize for innovation. All of the projects on display, for evaluators, sponsors, parents and the public, formed part of the degree requirements in final-year Design and Research Project modules.