2. Problem definition
Based upon user feedback and group discussion, the problem statement can be described as follows:The current rollator is unable to remain completely immobile while users attempt to sit down on it after activatingthe parking mechanism, leading to numerous falls amongst the elderly. In addition, the use of the parking featureis dependent on user memory but the user population is mainly elderly individuals with degrading memorycapabilities. The design should address the reliance on user memory to immobilize the rollator and improve thecurrent wheel locking mechanism, thus reducing the number of incidents related to falling due to unlocked andineffective brakes.
3. Customer needs & product requirements
Interviews were conducted with rollator users, elderly caregivers, and design specialists to help identify therequirements for an improved design of the rollator. The following table illustrates customer needs pertaining tothe parking brake mechanism of the rollator.
Table 1 - Interpreted customer needs.
Customer StatementsInterpreted Need
"Very maneuverable, only difficult to control if holding onto one handle"Able to brake with one hand"The wheels keep turning even after I lock it and even when the wheels are locked,the wheels slide on the surface of carpet."Able to stop movement whenrollator is parked"The brakes of the rollator break off very easily. They wear out and are expensive toreplace (approximately $40 each time). "Able to work effectively over life of rollator "The brake should have an automatic brake system that will apply the brakes ontothe rollator after it is not used after a certain amount of time."Able to brake with minimal appliedeffort
When translating customer needs into metrics, there was a concern with the few metrics available for therollator's braking and parking mechanism and thus suggested that this could potentially be an area overlooked bycurrent manufacturers. It is important to consider the dimensions of the rollator when designing the productspecifications for the parking system. However, when building the re-designed parking brake system, care should be taken so that the product does not weigh more than 60N and should ideally have a maximum width of 0.56mand maximum depth of 0.46m which is comparable to some of the smaller rollators available on the market. Thedimensions of the handle bar frame were determined through conventional rollator dimensions and ergonomicdata. Based on the handle bar dimensions and weight distribution, the spring constant on the chain-lock mechanism must range in between 0.290N-m and 11.1N-m.Following an ergonomic analysis of the pulling force, pushing force, elbow angle, and shoulder extension, itwas found that the frame should be built so that the it does not require a pulling strength of more than 96N per handle and and the required downward pushing strength should not be more than 64N per handle. Theseergonomic specifications are important and should be taken into consideration when designing the product.
4. Concept generation, selection and testing
As discussed earlier in the report, users of the rollator are forgetting to engage the parking mechanism on therollator before using the rollator as a seat or for support.To address these user needs, concepts were brainstormed that emulated different parking mechanisms on other devices such as bicycle brakes, airport luggage cart brakes, pin-lock mechanisms, seat activated brakes, motion2