A custom table designed, developed and produced by five UTC students won first place in the Freshman/Sophomore Design Project competition at the recent American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern Section Conference in Memphis. Students completed the project as part of the requirements for the fall 2007 Introduction to Engineering Design class, taught by Dr. Cecelia M. Wigal, UC Foundation Associate Professor.
“I am very proud of what the students created as well as the process they used to develop the idea, design it, test it and build it, all in seven and a half weeks,” Wigal said.
Robert Mazza, Matt Carroll, Joseph Branum, Vipin Joseph and Kashia Pietras created a table that allows up to four children sitting in Bumbo chairs to sit together and interact with each other. A Bumbo chair is a small, soft chair made of a foam-like material that conforms around a child’s sitting posture and gives support to the child. These chairs are commonly used for children under one year of age. This chair is frequently used by Signal Centers; a group of day schools in southeast Tennessee caring for young children with and without physical and mental delays.
According to the students’ abstract, “the children need a surface area on which they can place small objects such as toys, food, and educational materials. The original manufacturer offers a tray as an accessory to the Bumbo chair; however the staff at Signal Centers has identified several problems with this tray.
“The final design includes a top made from high density polyethylene plastic and commercially available metal table legs. The table legs allow the table’s height to adjust, especially to an uneven floor. The legs are also detachable for storage purposes. High density polyethylene was selected due to its low cost, light weight, and durability. The polyethylene was milled by the student team using a CNC router.
“The table was specified to safely hold 50 lbs; however it was tested to safely support over 150 lbs. The legs are removable so that the table can easily be put in storage when not in use. The table is stable and does not tip over easily. This is important because many of the children at the school are learning to walk and will hold on to the table for their own stability. The materials used in the table ensure that it is durable and will remain in service at Signal Centers for many years.”