Wheelie, In Hye Kim
Group Members: Sam Tsai, Lawrence Yen, Jesse Resnick
Problem/Non Profit: The basic problem In Hye identified was that existing animal wheelchairs were not well developed ergonomically. She worked in partnership with UC Davis (University of California), whose mission is “to provide a care program that encourages, fosters, and facilitates all aspects of health, well-being, and disease of companion animals.”
Strengths: We found several strong points in In Hye’s project – she added an extra wheel to the traditional wheelchair design to provide more even support. She provided memory foam so that the chair could conform to the dog’s body, creating a more ergonomically-friendly design. In Hye also devised a hospital rental system for the wheelchairs so that they would have an extended lifecycle.
Areas of Improvement: There were a few areas of improvement that we pinpointed, one of the main ones being material choice. No material information was provided on the board, so we were left guessing as to what choices In Hye had made. Another large concern we had was that the chair only seemed to work if the animals’ back legs were broken. We also sighted the choice of wheels – the wheels are multidirectional, but looked difficult for an animal to control, especially on a hill/rough terrain. Finally, we questioned how animals of differing sizes could use the Wheelie.
Proposed Improvements: In terms of improvements, our group attempted to broaden the scope of the project. Initially, we began by making small tweaks and improvements to the wheelchair proposed by In Hye. We felt that the wheelchair was definitely a good solution to the problem, but then tried to brainstorm totally different ways to help an injured animal. We referenced children’s toys and other types of walkers for inspiration.