I just finished off the closing remarks on our senior project report. Can’t believe after 9 months it’s almost over.
The engineering process of design, build, test, and report that we have gone through over the last 9 months has been an exciting, creative, difficult, interesting, frustrating, fun, rewarding, and educational experience. The international and interdisciplinary aspects of our team combined with the technical rigor and manufacturing feat of building two complete wheelchairs pushed our team to excel beyond the expectations of many, including ourselves. There were times of doubt, worry, and plain unhappiness, but we pushed through them, believing we would find success. And success we found.
From the standing ovation we received from the Industrial Advisory Board, to the first time we launched the chair in the ocean at Avila Beach, to the time we frantically redesigned component assemblies at the hardware store just an hour before the exposition, to when we first successfully linked the Munich seat with our frame, each and every milestone has kept our heads held high, propelling us to keep moving forward.
We have come a long way from our early prototypes and concept models to the final product we have now. Looking back, we laugh at some of the ideas we had and continue to question many of the elements of the current design. But what we recognize is that at the time, each decision felt right and was valid with the information at hand. Each idea, each iteration, each “a-ha!” and “uh-oh…” moment we have had was a necessary step to get where we are today. And perhaps this is the biggest lesson we have learned: that design is not a one step process, but an iterative and collaborative process that takes a lot of time, effort, and persistence. Though we had all experienced this lesson to some degree in our other courses, senior project has been the cementing factor to instill this knowledge in all of us.
It’s hard to believe after the 9 months working on this project that it’s finally coming to a close. Though the chair is not perfect by any stretch, we feel satisfied in where we are leaving it; we have never felt more successful than now. Thank you Bridge II Sports for the project inspiration and guidance. Thank you to our sponsors: Gates, Wheeleez, Zitec, Elite Metal Finishing, and Bike On. Thank you Kevin for the welding. And thank you Dr. Widmann and Dr. Maurer for your support, humor, patience, and advice. It’s been fun.
– Team SandCrawler: Rory, Josh, Sam, Alex, Alexa, Max, Bene, Marvin, and Marco