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Al-Daigami, Husain
Alnashmi, Jasim
Hasan, Faris
Stein, Rita
Dr. Charles Cox
EDSGN 100
20 October 2013
Barrier Free Playground: Rocker Spring
Abstract
The purpose of the project was to design a universally accessible playground, and our team
worked on designing a rocker spring that satisfies the desired requirements. We started by
learning what has already been done and then establishing what we would like to achieve. Our
plan to achieve the goal started with a protocol to collect data, followed by an analysis of the
data we received and then identifying the specifications needed to achieve our goal. From these
specifications, we started generating multiple concepts and finally chose the one that best met the
specifications.
Existing Conditions
Research shows 1 in 10 children in the US have a disability. That means that out of a
community there are some children who are as some would call different. Among those select
few children that are have parents that see that they are "different" but one of the top concerns of
parents is equality. How can their child go to the playground and not stand out?
Playgrounds are made for kids to swing and climb and run and have fun. Kids want to
exercise, and parents want a place for their little ones to go and run off some energy. And

disabled children of all kinds whether it be physical, or visually or hearing impaired should get
the same opportunity. Playground manufactures since 1997 have been making accessible
equipment; such as Little Tikes, National Center for Accessibility, and Boundless Playgrounds.
We plan to give kids the well-deserved right to have fun like everyone else.
Our piece to the playground is Rocker Springs which is set to be located in Lot C. Rocker
springs are a sitting ride that is attached to a spring at the bottom. It is required for the child on
top to propel their body weight to each side to cause themselves to rock. Now this task might be
difficult for someone in a wheelchair to first off climb onto the device and then to propel
themselves in various directions. As well it may be difficult for someone who is visually or
hearing impaired.
There are many companies around as mentioned before that make and sell handicap
accessible equipment and we want to team up with these distributers to create a fun attraction in
our playground that is easily accessible. They are the key stakeholders in the financing and
overseeing of this constructional project. As well the children and parents are very important
stakeholders as well and the key factors in the design, layout, and success of our playground.
Preferred Conditions
We want to give the kids the opportunity to have fun, whats the point of going to a
playground if you cannot enjoy the time there? That is why we are engineering a rocker spring
that will be for both able-bodied and disabled children. A potential issue that we faced was how
to make a rocker spring that can be used by someone in a wheelchair and also a child not in a
wheelchair. While it is easy to make one for wheelchairs and one for "everyone else" we must
not discriminate, and each must be the same in structure.

Which leads to a potential issue was the issue of safety. How can we make a ride that is
safe for both handicapped and non-handicapped children? The rocker spring needs to be big
enough to accommodate a wheel chair but not so big that other children fall inside or hurt
themselves while inside.
Companys such as Little Tikes and other various playground equipment manufacturers
and distributers all over the country are already making the products for these accessible
playgrounds. So in our studies we found that the equipment we need is already produced so it is
a simple matter.
Methodology
To analyze the objectives that we planned for in our preferred conditions we set out to collect
data from stakeholders. To resolve issues and meet needs such as equality and safety we asked
parents, children, and playground providers to complete our survey (see Appendix A for
instruments used). We chose to use just surveys as conducting interviews with all stake holders
would be time consuming; and, observing the children on the playground would be unacceptable
to the parents. We received both qualitative and quantitative data back from the survey (which
were fabricated by the instructor for this course and are not to be considered accurate or true).
The survey questions were constructed based on what we need to know and our preferred
conditions. We verified items on the survey based on credibility and net impact on our design
and lot distribution. The providers and parents were asked to complete our survey, and the
children were assisted by their parents in order to complete our survey.

Data Analysis

Our preferred conditions comprised of the theme universal accessibility, when comparing this
to the data received from our survey we decided on the required specifications to optimize the
needs met.
Stakeholders

Needs

Specs

Kids

Meet max occupancy. 70 +/- 10 kids on


the playground.

Springs have to accommodate


for 12 children. We will make
it multi person rocker springs.

Kids

Accommodate for ages 3 and under

Rockerspring dimension must


be suitable for toddlers as well
as smaller sized wheelchairs;
this will be measured in a
physical sense.

Kids

Accommodate for ages 4 and above

Same rockerspring with larger


dimensions suitable for
children and wheelchairs,
same design but different
decals more intriguing for the
age groups (animals, fictitious
characters measured by
popularity.) for some of the
rocker springs.

Kids

Gender preferences

Designs based on uni-sex


characteristics, such as colors.
This can be measured by the
children of different genders
reactions.

Kids

Safety precautions

Low to the ground


(preferably ground level) so
the acceleration of the child is
not significant enough for
them to get hurt if airborne.

Also the flooring should be


cushioned in case of contact;
therefore we will use rubber
matting material.
Kids

Space for other activities

10-15% of the lot must be


open empty space for the
children to roam and play.

Parents

Meet max occupancy (35 +/- 5 persons)

At least 10% of the land


devoted for the parents

Parents

Accommodate for seating

Benches must accommodate


the number of parents on the
lot.

Parents

Safety

Proximity to their children,


seating should be close to the
rockersprings in order for
parents to supervise their
children-the younger the age
group the closer the seating.

Providers

Maintenance

Consistent inspection is ideal.


Will also be evaluated by
observation, in case common
misuse of the product is a
factor.

Providers

Material

Plastic will be in use for the


car because of its resistance to
heat, keeping the children
from getting burned.
Because the spring will be
underground, there will be a
rubber platform covering the
area of the pit (so no child gets
caught under the
rockerspring)-essentially
making the rockersping
ground level.

Providers

Safety

The design is structurally


sound; it will not break down
on a child while in use.
Assurance of reliability of the
rockerspring.

Table 1.
As displayed above, we created a needs/specs chart compromising preferred conditions
with expectations. This was not too difficult considering our needs from our preferred conditions
essentially matched our needs collected from the data. We categorized our groups based on
importance, children and parents coming first because they will be the first to experience and
respond to the equipment created; followed by the providers, who will be affected by the
reactions of the children and parents and the overall performance of the rocker spring. We made
sure to accommodate rocker springs for children of all ages and genders while at the same time
providing safer locations for the younger children by placing the rocker spring near a bench
which also accommodates seating for the guardians.
Before tackling the designing portion of the project we had to take into account the
landscape of our lot. Ideally we need a flat terrain for our rocker springs; although all of our lots

will be individually accessible we have to also maneuver with the elevations of lots around us.
Also, when moving from lot to lot we must provide easy access from one to the other that is safe
and up to codes, for this we decided to use ramps equipped with hand railings for easy access as
stated by ASTM STD. After studying our lot and working with our neighboring groups, we
changed the original lot layout (see figure 2) to include a larger flat surface and ramp to a
neighboring lot, which can be seen in figure 3.

Figure 2. Original Lot

Figure 3. Final Lot Layout

When we first began thinking of a concept, we thought around the idea of a universally
accessible rocker spring, meaning a physically disabled person and or a visually impaired person
must be able to use the swing safely. Of course with this in mind we thought of the addition of a
ramp. Obviously that was not going to work as a final product in reality due to the imbalance of
the rocker spring as the wheel chair is going up the ramp, but it was the start of a thought process
which led us to our next sketch.
We thought if we make the rocker spring on ground level it would be more efficiently
accessible by a wheel chair. We even added a self-closing ramp which would shut itself behind
the wheel chair due to the weight of the chair putting pressure on the incline at the end of the
ramp. Although this was a great innovation for the efficiency and accessibility of the physically

disabled, we still never resolved the issue of the instability or assessed the design of the selfclosing ramp/door.
We began to think that the spring being vertical might be the problem with the instability
so we decided to make a rocker spring that would swing horizontally left and right, rather than a
full range of motion like a regular rocker spring. In order to initiate the rocking motion, you
must pull the lever which moves the block in front of the other spring. The release of the block
would release the tension off of the spring on the right (as shown in the second figure), thrusting
the rocker spring to the left, beginning the back and forth motion between the springs .

We kept our concept of easy accessibility by keeping the rocker spring on the ground
level; we also brought back the vertical spring in order to maintain a full range of motion like a
typical rocker spring rather than restricted left and right only motion. In order to keep the

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stability of the rocker spring we used the block and wheel idea in order to immobilize the car by
shifting the force of the platform on the springs to the wooden blocks, these wooden blocks
adjust position by spinning the wheel located in the car. We believed that the self-shutting ramp
is a possible safety hazard due to the fact that it can physically shut on the child while they roll
up the ramp; also, we considered the fact that more than one child will be entering the car, so it is
actually inefficient for the children because the ramp will then close shut after each child. So in
place of it we inserted a lever that will close the ramp/door shut once the children are in the car.
We also thought that for children younger than three year olds we need additional safety
measures such as removing the door in order to assure the child does not fall out of the car, also
to assure an adults supervision because they must place their child into the car.
Conclusion
After analyzing the data and generating initial concepts, the team came up with a design
that met all the needs. The final design consists of a rocker spring for children under the age of
three and a rocker spring with a universal design. The smaller rocker spring is designed to fit
three year old children and under. Figure (5) below shows the third angle projection and the
axonometric view of the rocker-spring. The design consists of a car attached to spring in the
middle with four smaller springs near the edges but are not attached to the car. This design
allows the car to isolate by redirecting the movement using the five springs below the car. The
safety precautions discussed earlier, like the seat for the smaller rocker spring, were implemented
in this design, making it the best design that met all the needs.

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Figure 5. Smaller Rocker Spring

As for the bigger rocker spring, we narrowed down our initial concepts and adjusted them
to suit our needs. First, for the size, we decided to use a make a four feet by four feet rocker
spring, which will allow it to hold multiple people and it also gives it the capacity to hold a
childrens wheelchair, which according to Wilson, and McFarland is typically between 16 to
18 inches in height, 12 to 16 inches in width, and 10 to 14 inches in depth (44).
After careful consideration of our initial concepts for the rocker spring, we determined
that the best way to provide the oscillating motion of the rocker spring safely is to attach it to a
big spring in the middle and have four springs underneath the edges so that when the car moves
in a particular direction, the four springs can redirect it while the middle one allows the car to

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move. However, this alone makes the rocker unstable because any shift in weight will be
redirected by the springs, and this is especially dangerous while getting on and off the rocker.
Thus, we decided to implement rotating steel ledges covered with rubber instead of the wooden
blocks that we mentioned in our earlier concepts, which will provide additional durability. The
ledges can be rotated by turning a wheel positioned in the back of the rocker, which will in turn
stabilize the rocker. In addition, we decided to utilize the lever that closes and opens the door,
but we added the feature that the door can only be opened when the rocker is not in motion and
the ledges are stabilizing the rocker, which will increase the safety of the rocker. The figures (5)
and (6 below) show the third angle projection and the isometric view of the rocker spring
respectively illustrating the mentioned components.

Figure 5. Third Angle Projection For The Bigger Rocker Spring

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Figure 6. Isometric View of the Rocker Spring

At this point, our goal of making a universally accessible rocker spring for the
playground hasnt been achieved yet. However, the size of the rocker springs allows them to
accommodate wheelchairs, which was a big concern in the beginning. Figure d below illustrates
the rocker spring with the average size of a childrens wheelchair. During the designing process,
the concept of a rocker spring inspired the idea of using the energy generated from the oscillating
motion to power a circuit and a speaker installed in the wall of the car. The generated sound can
be something that would fit the atmosphere of the playground, while providing an indication that
the rocker is in motion and thus unsafe to approach without caution. Utilizing these ideas
allowed us to create a universal design that does not discriminate against any type of impairment.
Finally, with our new design we decided to place three of the bigger rocker spring and
one of the smaller one. This decision was based on the data we received from our research. The
final model of the lot can be seen in figure (7), and figure (8) shows the final models of the other
lots on the playground.

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Figure 7. Rocker Spring Lot

Figure 8. All Lots On The Playground

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Works Cited
- Playcore, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.boundlessplaygrounds.com/Home/Index>.
- The World Playground, Parks, Recreation Products and Services Web Directory. N.p., 7 Sept. 1996.
Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.playgrounddirectory.com/accessible.htm>.

- Wilson, Bennet A., and Samuel R. McFarland. Wheelchairs: A Prescription Guide. Vol. 44. VA:
Rehabilitation Press, 1986. 6-18. 46 vols. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.
- Why Accessible Playgrounds?. World Food Programme, n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.
<http://apps.npr.org/playgrounds/>.

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Appendix

Rocker Springs Group Survey


For: Parents

1.) How often do you take your child/children to the park/playground?


2.) On average, how long do you spend there?
3.) Do you make a day of it? (ex. Picnics, games, family/social gatherings)
4.) How many children do you have?
5.) Do you think the amount of equipment is sufficient to the amount of children?
6.) Is the park/playground convenient to get to?
7.) Would you recommend this park to your peers and their children?
8.) Is there anything you do not like about your park/playground?
9.) Would you allow your child their freedom to roam alone on this playground? (safety)
10.)Is there anything you find unnecessary at the park?
For kids:
1.)
2.)
3.)
4.)
5.)
6.)
7.)

How old are you?


How often would you like to go to the park?
Do you have any fears of any of the equipment?
Do you get bored at the park?
What activities do you do at the park with your peers? (Tag, hide and seek, sports)
Have you ever gotten hurt? (physically)
Is there something you would like to add to the park?

Stakeholders:
1.)
2.)
3.)
4.)
5.)
6.)
7.)
8.)

What is your budget for the playground?


What materials will be used for the playground?
How often will you renovate?
How will you rate the safety of the equipment?
Will the playground be accessible at night?
Is this a public playground or a private playground?
What development factor/feature of this project attracts the eyes of the users?
Where will the playground be built? (population of inhabitants in the area)

Surveys used to collect data