Computer Table for United Cerebral Palsy Hand-in-Hand

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Computer Table for United Cerebral Palsy Hand-in-Hand

Designers: Jonathan Byers, James Posey, Christine Wood
Client Coordinator: Michael Smith, UCP Hand-in-Hand


The goal of this project was to design and construct a multi-purpose computer table to accommodate the children and staff at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Hand-in-Hand, a children’s daycare in Birmingham, AL.  Approximately 50% of the children at Hand-in-Hand have some form of disorder, the most abundant of which is cerebral palsy.  The other children express no apparent disorders.

The design constraints were as follows:  the table should accommodate children ages 2-5.  For those wheelchair bound, the table needed to be adjustable to different heights (21 – 30 in.).  It had to support a number of loads including a touch screen monitor (39 lb), the existing processor (32 lb), printer and other accessories (~25 lb).  The monitor was needed to be easily adjustable within the horizontal plane to suit the sight and arm ranges of the children.  A large keyboard tray able to adjust to various heights and tilt was needed, which could be slid under the table when not in use.  To prevent the children from tampering with the computer tower (processor), it needed to be concealed and locked.  Also, the various accessories used with the computer required a storage area and a way to organize and bundle the wires was needed.  The system needed to be easy to use by the staff, quiet, kid-proof, safe, and cleanable. The client requested that the table surface be made with a light wood laminate top, and that the complete system have blue accents to go with the existing daycare decor.  The project had to be designed, built and delivered to the client within 15 weeks, within a budget of $1,500.



The table top was made out of a light wooden particleboard laminate.  The keyboard tray (Versa Products, Inc) met ANSI/BIFMA standards and was rated to support a maximum load of 70 lbs, which exceeded the design load for the largest child (weight = 55 lbs) supporting his or her weight entirely on the keyboard tray.  A flat panel, touch screen monitor (PLANAR) and fully adjustable monitor arm (Neoflex, Ergotron, Fig. 3b)) were purchased.

For the table adjustment, two lifting columns (LINAK) were chosen, which provided support against bending moments resulting from the monitor being mounted at the rear of the table.  LINAK graciously donated two DL1 lifting columns as well as the control box and button control.  The minimum height of the actuator was 17.5 in. and it had a maximum stroke length of 11.8 in. satisfying the adjustability constraint.

A basket that could be slid under the table was attached to hold various computer accessories. A work surface on a gooseneck arm provided an additional surface for accessories.  All work surfaces were coated with polyurethane. The final table design (Figure 23) met ANSI/BIFMA Standards x5.5-1998.  The total cost was $1,371.

23 - computer table UCP
Figure 23.  Adjustable Computer Table for UCP Hand-in-Hand