Engineering for Access 2019 shortlist: Kristen Tapping | ™

Engineering for Access 2019 shortlist: Kristen Tapping

Kristen Tapping

About Kristen Tapping

Kristen is currently studying Product Design Engineering at London Southbank University, having moved over to the UK from France to be able to further her education. Kirsten’s design was inspired by a close friend who is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a motorbike accident.

Kristen credits many of her ideas as being “crazy” and often works backwards to find a way to make them work. She tries to come up with innovative designs to help people who may not be in a position to help themselves, such as homeless people or those suffering from a disability. In the future, Kristen hopes that she can position herself in a career where she can encourage other young girls or women to also pursue careers in engineering and design.

Shortlisted idea

Kristen has come up with a wheelchair solution that helps to both sanitise and improve the function of the pushing mechanism on a standard wheelchair. The aim is that the chair will be easier to maneuver for users.

Kristen’s entry

Kristen Tapping's Entry

Moveo is an innovative wheelchair that was designed specifically for people with spinal cord injuries. However, it can be used by any wheelchair user 8 years of age and older. I chose to create something for this particular disability as the concept was originally designed for the Bolt Burdon Kemp 2018 Design Challenge geared towards people with spinal cord injuries, of which I won 1st place. In addition, a close friend of mine has this disability and I have observed the hidden challenges this group of people face on a daily basis.

My idea initially came from the frustration of observing how unsanitary and non-functional the pushing mechanism is on traditional wheelchairs – the hand must touch the wheel when pushing, leading to contamination of whatever the wheel has picked up from the ground or the floor. In addition, this disability brings along poor dexterity meaning users have a very hard time pushing the rim – Moveo solves this by providing a wider pushing surface made of a rubber-like material that is easy to grip.

Moveo’s main attribute is the deferred pushing mechanism that runs through a spur gear allowing for a physical separation of the push rim and wheel. In addition to providing a more sanitary and effective pushing mechanism, the gear reduction process reduces the force needed to propel the wheelchair due leveraging of the applied force. Through prototyping, a set of spur gears could be developed to meet the needs of users with varied strength capabilities.

This concept is different from any other product, as this spur gear derived pushing mechanism (where users are still using a push rim) does not exist in the wheelchair market and answers a great need of separating the push rim from the wheel. Prototyping would have to begin with establishing whether this spur gear mechanism works in a wheelchair context, designing a spur gear that reduces force required without making it too fast, and fabricating the frame to be as functional as possible while keeping the design clean and minimal.

Using plywood for the seat and armrests, 3D printing for the frame and spur gears, and existing bicycle wheels for the wheels and push rim, I would estimate a proof of principle rig could be constructed for approximately £1000. An improved iteration, which I hope would be a prototype capable of real world testing (carbon fibre frame, PCM packs in the seat, Infinergy E-TPU on the wheels and push rim, plastic/metal 3D printed rims, and formed plywood or carbon fibre for the seat and armrest) could be constructed with the remaining £4000.

Click here to download the full PDF of Kristen’s design

Click here to go return to the Engineering for Access shortlist.

Other Important Information

*No Win No Fee

  • Although all our cases are handled on a no win no fee basis, other costs could be payable upon solicitors request. These will be fully explained to you before you proceed. Most customers will pay 25% (including VAT) of the compensation they are awarded to their law firm, although this may vary based on individual circumstances. Your solicitor may arrange for insurance to be in place for you to make sure your claim is risk free. Termination fees based on time spent may apply, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation or deliberately misleading our solicitors, or failing to go to any medical or expert examination, or court hearing.
  • *Criminal Injury Claims

  • If you want to make a claim for a criminal injury, you are not required to use the services of a claims management company to pursue the claim. You can submit your claim for free on your own behalf, directly to the Criminal Injury Compensation Authority (England, Wales, and Scotland) or the Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (Northern Ireland).

When you submit your details, you'll be in safe hands. Our partners are National Accident Helpline (a brand of National Accident Law, a firm of personal injury solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority). They are the UK's leading personal injury service. Their friendly legal services advisers will call you to talk about your claim and give you free, no-obligation advice. National Accident Law may pay us a marketing fee for our services.

By submitting your personal data, you agree for your details to be sent to National Accident Law so they can contact you to discuss your claim.

If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.