About The Class
STEM 2 at MAMS is taught by Dr. Crowthers. This class is the second major project-based learning experience we have as part of STEM at MAMS and it looks at creating Assistive Technology for those with disabilities. During this project, we learned how to work through the engineering process and create different prototypes, move through testing phases, and eventually deliver a final product. My group worked on creating an assistive bowling ramp for a classroom for students with cerebral palsy.
The Seven Hills Foundation in Worcester has held a bowling activity for its members with cerebral palsy over the last decade. The activity has been popular and has provided an entertaining opportunity for the bowlers to socialize and develop motor skills. Recently, the custom bowling ramp that was used by the organization to allow their members to bowl with a limited range of motion broke down. The goal of this project was to create a bowling launcher that allows someone in a wheelchair or with a lack of arm control to bowl independently with some degree of control over the ball in an indoor setting.
Our group decided to approach this problem by first designing different prototypes and mechanisms that we presented and received feedback for during preliminary and critical design reviews. We decided to work on a PVC prototype to create a chassis for the ramp first, and we then worked on electronics to find a way to release the ball forward. We first looked at creating a spring-powered design to push the ball however after further testing, we found that this approach was not viable due to the amount of power needed to compress a spring powerful enough to push a bowling ball. We then looked to a linear actuator design to push the ball down the ramp and moved the ball to the front of the ramp.