This client was falling forward out of the front of their wheelchair. Unable to react in time, they were often hitting their head and face.
Any solution could not impede mobility. It could not stick out too far or prevent the wheelchair from traveling over say a door threshold. It also needed to be strong and lightweight.
How can we design a system a that added safety to the wheelchair without adding too much weight or reducing the user's mobility?
The final design was made of aluminum, tumbled and anodized to protect the part. Aluminum was chosen because of its strength to weight ratio.
Early on the designed focused on minimal material and impact on mobility. It was important that any addition to the wheelchair would not inhibit the user. That said we wanted the parts to be able to withstand forces without failing. We printed our design on the 3d printer and tested them for fit and to prove out our concept.
Once we had a design ready to be cut out of aluminum we turned to our CNC mill. After a few mistakes, the finished parts were tumbled in a rock tumbler to debur and soften any sharp edges then anodized black. We settled on black to minimize the part on the wheelchair. We decided that safety did not need to be visually highlighted.