En­gi­neer­ing feat for fi­nal-year stu­dents

The Mercury - - TERTIARY TIMES -

Chris­tine Cuénod

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.

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