Mechanical Engineering Department
BS in Mechanical Engineering
Our primary goal was to develop an adaptive device to allow a user with limited upper body mobility to more effectively play a game of pool. Within this goal it was important to design around the concept of a least restrictive environment, in order to provide the user with as close to a standard pool playing experience as possible. The device was designed to specifically meet the needs of John Lee, an Assistive Technology Specialist at Cal Poly's Disability Resource Center. Mr. Lee has muscular dystrophy, which limits his upper and lower body mobility and currently requires his use of a wheelchair.
Research into the specific needs of our customer, current products, and pool game elements was performed to better understanding of the project goals. From this research and discussion with John Lee, customer requirements and engineering specifications were developed. These were then used to guide the design development process. Several ideation techniques were used, and concepts for a bridge mechanism and supporting bases were created. A rough prototype was developed to test the concepts before our final design direction was decided.
Our final design acts as a robust bridge device with a self-supporting base that constrains the path of the pool cue to a set path, allowing the user to focus their effort on providing power to the shot. The base can be rolled around the table, and stabilizing posts are lowered through a cable system when the shot is being made to prevent the base from sliding. The shooting mechanism features horizontal and vertical angle adjustment to allow for proper positioning of the cue, as well as a small cue stop to adjust the allowable travel of the pool cue. A vertical height adjustment is also present to allow the mechanism to reach over the edge of the pool table and for special high angle shots. The shooting mechanism itself features fixed and sliding rollers that act as a modified pool bridge, limiting travel of the pool cue to one axis of motion. The top part of the device can be separated from the base and clamped to the upright post for easier transport. These design choices allow the device to be compatible with any size regulation pool cue.
Engineering analysis was performed to select materials and size components for the final device. Parts were specified and costs recorded to keep within the program budget. The device was then manufactured to the specifications shown in the included technical drawings, and testing was performed to verify that the final product met the design requirements.
The overall experience was successful, and the final product received strong approval from John Lee. Recommendations for potential future improvement of both manufacturing and design of the device are included, as are as tips for device operation.