Challenge:  Backpack Chair
Challenger:  Alex Lee, Navy Veteran
University Partner:  George Mason University
Student Team: Nasser Almaki, Josue Arana, Lily Patterson, Kaiyao Xie
Faculty Advisor:  Antonie Vandenberge
QL+ Program Manager:  Bob Wolff

Project Summary:

Team PairaMax, with the assistance and oversight from the George Mason Volgenau School of Engineering, undertook a project from Mr. Alex Lee, by way of Quality of Life Plus. It is an honor for the team to do work for such an organization, and for a United States Army and Navy veteran.

The problem given to the team was to construct a chair that would be portable with the user, and that would be able to be switched between a stowed mode where the chair would not be usable, but would not impede the user’s movement, and a deployed mode where it would function as a chair. Through further querying by the team they determined further specifications to conform the project to, within the best of their ability. The chair had to be very portable, weighing no more than 30 pounds, as well as not impeding normal movement. The chair had to be automatically deployable, due to Mr. Lee’s specific physical constraints. The chair had to be comfortable to wear, both while deployed and while stowed. The chair had to be durable, safe and would have to hold up for significant periods of use.

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These specifications in mind, the team designed many iterative concepts, each falling short of the ultimate goal in some way or another. Through each design, they learned the ways in which their previously determined solutions were inadequate, or unmatchable, to the project specifications and goals, and through redesign, those problems were rectified. The team was involved in numerous progress reports, so that George Mason University, as well as QL Plus, could be certain of the team’s dedication to the project, and consistent improvement towards the end workable product.

The design work for the team was complicated due to the nature of the product, which had not been successfully implemented elsewhere to the team’s understanding. This meant that the solutions envisaged by the team were novel in their own right, determined to solve an as-of-yet unsolved problem with their own ingenuity, planning, and teamwork.
The final product, though not entirely assembled due to lab shutdowns, is the culmination of Team PairaMax’s work throughout the year, displaying the full breadth of their problem-solving skill in working with this complex, novel project. The team, while satisfied with their work, looks forward to assisting any future teams on the ultimate completion of the product, including any redesigns future teams might employ to the better solving of the numerous problems Team PairaMax engaged throughout the year.
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The team would like to thank everyone at QL Plus, and the George Mason Volgenau School of Engineering, for granting them this opportunity to develop and display their mechanical intelligence to the betterment of society, and to the specific user Mr. Alex Lee.