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Adaptive Canoeing

Leo Mitchell

The Need

The end user currently cannot canoe comfortably because the typical canoe back does not provide enough support. The user is 30 yeats old, 5'1", and has spina bifida, which is a condition in which the spine does not fully develop. This results in the user having a developed upper body but have minimal muscle mass in his lower half. The user's main problem with canoeing is that the seat does not provide enough back support because the canoe seat only extends to his lower back. However, the canoe is a performance boat support because the canoe seat only extends to his lower back. However, the canoe is a performance boat so it requires being very lightweight for optimal performance, The contraption should also include side support and be easily removable and transportable.

The Project

The motivation for this project is to adapt the seat of a canoe in order to provide more back support for disabled users. This adaptive seat will be unique because it is custom to the canoe supplied to us by Ross Lilley from AccesSportsAmerica. To approach this problem, we defined all the needs and constraints for the seat. It has to be lightweight, supportive, comfortable, and not hinder the motion of the user as they canoe. We held brainstorming sessions in order to gather possible solutions to our problem. After down-selecting our ideas, we ordered a seat that would fir into he size and shape of the base of the canoe. We then retrofit the canoe by trimming the seat and taking pictures and measurements of how the seat fit onto the canoe. After this, we started to model in SolidWorks possible parts that we were interested i 3D printing. We have 3D printed several prototype parts and ordered additional parts that we are starting to use to assemble the back support. Once we have finalized a method of securing the chart backing to the canoe, we will further consider how to add side support. The completed design will allow athletes with weak lower bodies to use this outrigger canoe comfortably and safely.