Capstone project

Recreational slide for wheelchair-bound persons

At present there is a limited amount of playground equipment for handicapped people, and most of the items are boring. The goal of this project was to design a playground slide to be used specifically by people (children and adults) who are wheelchair bound. One reason that most of the equipment is boring is because designers are afraid to make the rides fun. Why bother going down a slide if it is simply a glorified ramp? Therefore we decided to design our slide so that the ride can get to be as "wild" of a slide as the rider would like. How to do this? At first we had to decide what aspect of slides made them fun so that we had a definite objective. If a person follows a constant slope down, the acceleration is constant, and the person only feels a change in velocity. However, if the slope changes then the person feels a change in velocity and a differing acceleration. The change in acceleration a person feels is with respect to their forward movement and their "gut feelings," the effect of an increase or decrease in gravity due to centripetal forces in the vertical plane. We determined that it is this vertical change in acceleration which makes a straight slide fun. We know that if we were to actually construct this it would first have to be approved by a lawyer, doctor, and professional engineer.