Challenge: Wheelchair Tire Cleaner
Challenger: Adam Keys, US Army Veteran
University Partner: Virginia Tech
Student Team: Bren Bowerman, Sam Buck, Lauren Canterbury, Casey Charron, Courtney Deacon, John
Marciante, Ben Paschina, Matt Wilson, and, Taylor Young
Faculty Advisor: Robin Ott
QL+ Program Manager: Janet Papazis
Adam Keys, 2019 Veteran of the Year, is frustrated by the dirt and debris tracked into his
home via his wheelchair tires. He has challenged our team to build a device to alleviate this problem. Team 54 is responsible for developing a product that will clean all tires of both of the Challenger's powered and manual wheelchairs. This device should be installed in the mudroom or garage of the Challenger's home with adequate access to the home for the Challenger and any of his guests. The team will be responsible for designing a system that does not permanently damage his house, building a working prototype, and installing the system in the Challenger's home.
Team 54 will supply written maintenance instructions and all necessary maintenance
equipment. The safety of the Challenger, his home, and his wheelchairs are of utmost importance, and precautions have been taken to protect all of these aspects. QL+ has provided
the team with a generous budget of $5,000 to complete this project. This budget will be allocated for planning, testing, fabricating, and installing a final working prototype by May 2020.
The team first identified top customer needs, which include safety, cleaning the tires,
fitting in the mudroom or garage, and independent use. Utilizing concept generation tools such as
a Mind Map and a Morphological Chart, the team generated over twenty-five unique concepts.
Various analytical methods were used, such as concept selection and screening matrices to
compare concepts and down-select to two final ideas. One of the most influential factors in the concept of downselection was recognizing the mechanical differences between the Challenger’s
manual and powered wheelchairs. The team developed prototypes for both rotational and linearly
moving brushes, and tested their ability to clean with both wet and dry dirt of various types.
Through prototyping and more concept downselection, the team chose the concept with
driven rollers and a rotating brush as the final concept to proceed with detailed design. The team
has completed one hundred percent of the detailed design and assembled approximately 85% of
the final device. Due to the unforeseen circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team has
outlined steps for final manufacturing and thorough device testing such that the end product
would be complete.