Challenge:  Convertible Scooter Cover
Challenger:  Mike Donnelly, Army Veteran
University Partner:  University of Cincinnati
Student Team:   Mary Dickman,  Christina Harmon, Hailey Tippett, and, Lauren Williams
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Thomas Huston
QL+ Program Manager:  Amber Humphrey

Project Summary:

The automated scooter cover challenge has been presented by Quality of Life Plus (QL+), a program that focuses on improving the lives of U.S. veterans. Mike Donnelly is the challenger of this project. He served in the Army from May 1970 to January 1972 with 12 of those months being in Vietnam. Mike is legally blind, secondary to Diabetes II, and has a balance problem caused by heart disease medicine. All of these issues stemmed from Agent Orange exposure. On top of this (and where this project comes into place) is the fact that Mike cannot be in the sunlight for long periods of time. He has requested an automatic cover that will attach to his scooter and be able to go up and down with the press of a button.

MIke and Team.jpg 7.92 MB

The final idea for the cover came together by having multiple meetings with Mike to discuss his needs and wants. Following this, a few designs were created and the best parts of each were combined to come up with one final design. A canopy inspired, battery charged, actuator powered cover was designed. The actual cover goes in and out but needs to be removed during transportation. The material used to shade Mike is UV protective polyester. The supporting base and actuator remain on the scooter permanently and are attached via the trailer hitch on the back of the scooter. No permanent work is done to the scooter itself; everything is ultimately removable. The most important parts to focus on are to ensure that the cover cannot bump into Mike during its opening and closing, it is made from a UV protective material, and it is easily recharged. 

This project was mostly completed, but unfortunately unable to be delivered to Mike due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Construction of the cover was completed across the state of Ohio with each team member working on separate sections, then finally the sections were all delivered to a single location to be assembled by a single team member. There was a bit of troubleshooting at the final level that was dealt with as a team over telecommunication methods. The final product was able to be completed and assembled, however, the team has been unable to meet to ensure everything works perfectly for Mike. In addition to being unable to deliver the final product due to the outbreak, the team is unable to complete a final test to verify that the design is compatible with the scooter. The team plans to deliver the cover as well as complete any needed alterations once it is safe to do so.

Music in the Video:  A Little South of Sanity, Dream On (Live), Aerosmith