Photo of the A tray product, a tan slanted tray supported by legs that is attached to a table edge by clamps

A-Tray: An adjustable workspace for wheelchair users

University of Pittsburgh

Sean Cadden, Morgan Lishawa, Shruthi Muralidharan, Joy Nix, & Luke Simpson

A-Tray provides an optimized workspace solution for individuals who utilize wheelchairs. The A-Tray team conducted over forty hours of observations at the Pittsburgh Community Living & Support Service (CLASS) center, and identified a need for developing a superior workspace for wheelchair users who have limited fine motor skills. The current facility environment at CLASS limited the ability for individuals in wheelchairs to maintain close proximity to standard sized tables within the classrooms. Therefore, minimizing inclusion and independence of individuals during classroom activities. Our team focused on Arts and Crafts classes where activities included working with loose materials such as papers, beads, and fabrics. Such tasks were proven difficult to work with for the focus group, given their limited range of mobility. The A-Tray team began exploring ways to address these observed limitation through the ‘Design Thinking’ process by ideating, prototyping, iterating, and obtaining user feedback. The design allows individual users to adjust the tray angle and distance independently without the any additional assistance. The tray clip features secured the loose leaf paper and prevents the material from being displaced from the workspace. In addition, it improves user posture in comparison to working on standard flat tables. The team focused on selecting cost efficient materials in order to maintain a lightweight design. In future iterations, we aim to minimize the material cost associated with production. The A-Tray product is an adjustable, easy to store, sturdy, and cost efficient solution that enhances independence by bringing the workspace to the user.

RESNA Design Brief

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