November & December Challenge | Active with No Limits

Your challenge is to design a device which helps a person with C4/5 quadriplegia play a sport (of your choice)!

Quadriplegia is a condition where a person loses total or partial function of their arms, legs and torso due to spinal damage. Someone with C4/5 quadriplegia will typically have 1) limited hand function 2) limited triceps function 3) limited mobility 4) limited trunk function and 5) reduced sensation to pain. This means that they will generally be limited to a wheelchair, have limited balance and struggle to grip or release objects.

Quadriplegia makes it difficult for people to play sports. As you can read in our latest BLOG, sport is important for maintaining physical and mental health. That’s why adaptive sports, where people with a disability can participate, are so important! Many adaptive sports require specialised engineered equipment to help them gain greater motion. I wonder what engineering solutions YOU could come up with...

Find out more about Peter Worsley's story, how he creates sculptures from scrap and new steel and how he is able to work in the garden with his customised tools.

When coming up with your design, think about: 

  • Motion constraints: the end-user should always be in the forefront of your mind during design. Think about the motion constraints for someone with C4/5 quadriplegia when coming up with your design.
  • Motion: what motion is your device trying to imitate? What does this motion look like without motions constraints and how can you mimic this with your device?
  • Technology: could your solution use technology? Lots of wheelchairs have in-built Bluetooth controllers…how could you use this? 
  • Customisable: Every person with quadriplegia will have different constraints so a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. How can you make your design customisable?

Upload your designs to the Girls in Engineering Club Facebook group by Tuesday the 15th December or to our alternative submission form. We’ve given you two months to complete this challenge because we know how hectic the end of year is!

For inspiration, check out some of the awesome technologies available:

Modified sailing boat (Peter Worsley sails)!

Modified wheelchair for soccer

Kayak a with higher back for better stability

A company which develops gloves for people with impaired hand function

‘Sky rigger’ for casting during fishing

Target shooting engineering solutions

Wetsuit to help people float when swimming