Overview

Versatile Assistive Roaming System (VARS) is a walking tricycle based on the Alinker tricycle, which is an assistive device primarily utilized as a walking aid to assist those who are in need. The Alinker is different from normal assistive devices since it provides the assistive functionality but also provides a sleeker design which reduces the stigma associated with assistive devices.  VARS seeks to address some of the shortcomings of the Alinker bike by adding a motor, increasing the comfort, and increasing the safety.

The Background

Improving the quality of life and increasing accessibility for people who may rely on assistive devices is an ongoing project globally. The VARS project is specifically looking to create an alternative Alinker for people who might need more assistance. Locations that have many inclines and declines like Carleton campus make getting around challenging for people who rely on assistive devices. Through creating a motor and safety braking system within the VARS device, traversing the hills and climbs on campus can become less dangerous and laborious.  This year the project will be taking big strides in building the first prototype and testing to see how to innovate and optimize the design of the VARS assistive device. This will include the development of intelligent breaking as well as the ability to collect and display health information.

The Rollout

This year’s scope is looking to build the first prototype model as well as performing various tests on the model to analyze and to innovate the current design. The funding will go towards purchasing higher quality parts to build the best prototype possible. Additionally, funding will go towards purchasing different tools to help analyze the prototype and determine where improvements can be made.

The Impact

As an assistive device, VARS is designed to be used by many people within the community. After this project is perfected and finished, it will be available for use to anybody who is looking for an assistive walking device. VARS is designed traverse inclines with the built-in motor, but it also has a safety feature that will ensure the users safety by slowing down the device when going downhill. The VARS device will support those in need of an assistive walking device to allow the user to travel over a variety of different terrain.

Furthermore, this campaign is a chance for fourth year engineering students to collaborate on a project bigger than themselves and to really help the community as well as a chance for students to apply and practice the theory that they have been learning over the years of their undergraduate program. This capstone projects gives engineering students an opportunity to apply the knowledge they have learnt through their degree but also to create a positive impact.

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