Starting last Fall, a team of Mechanical Engineering students joined with V-LINC -- a volunteer organization that provides solutions for people with disabilities -- to design and build two ramps to help a 13-year old girl with Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type III, commonly called "brittle bone disease". Hannah, who lives in Baltimore County, is unable to walk and only weighs 35 lbs. She can move around on the floor by herself, but requires help from her mother to get in or out of bed and on or off the toilet.
Under the guidance of Dr. Andy Conn (V-LINC) and Dr. Neil Rothman (UMBC), the students designed and built composite wood/foam ramps (pictured below). The ramps had to meet strict dimensional requirements to both fit within the cramped space in Hannah's bedroom and bathroom and to provide the gentle incline that she can navigate. However, the ramps also had to be light enough for Hannah's mother to be able to remove them when necessary.
Design work and prototyping proceeding during the Fall semester and over the Winter break. A final design was developed and construction began over Spring break. The ramps were completed and delivered to V-LINC by mid-May. They were then upholstered and installed in Hannah's house before Memorial Day.
The ME team is working on some final decorative touches, but Hannah and her Mom are very pleased with the outcome! Congratulations to the Hannah's Ramps team and V-LINC.