John McPhee thought it would be easy to design a device to give Canada’s competitive wheelchair curlers better control of their shots.
Eighteen months and seven prototypes later, he doesn’t mind admitting it hasn’t been easy at all.
The surprisingly complex problem has so far required hundreds of hours of work by McPhee, a systems design engineering professor at the University of Waterloo, and four of his students.
“When Team Canada described it to me, I thought ‘how hard can it be?’” he said. “It turns out it was very, very difficult.”
The latest product of all their brainstorming, designing, computer modelling, testing and revision is a plastic, 3D-printed device with two metal springs, four moving parts and an all-important clamp mechanism. Dubbed an end-effector, or curling head, the device screws onto the end of the stick that wheelchair curlers use to throw their rocks.
Full article: [Waterloo Stories]