The Wheelchair Rocker

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The Wheelchair Rocker

Students: Greg Barnett, Michael Dahlen, Brad Nelson
Client: UCP of Greater Birmingham – Children’s Day Care


This Rocker was designed for use by children with a range of physical disabilities who attend the day care at UCP of Greater Birmingham.  The primary goals for this design were to produce a device that would provide sensory stimulation through motion, using a client’s existing wheelchair so that the child can be wheeled onto the a platform and rocked without having to be transferred from their wheelchair.

Technical description


Specifically, the device is designed to utilize a rocking motion with comfortable rocking angles and speed and follow ADA guidelines for dimensions concerning wheelchair ramps (Figure 1).  It accommodates a maximum load of 300 lb., which includes both child and wheelchair, with a safety factor of 2.  It is corrosion-resistant allowing for spills and cleaning solutions to interact with its surface.  The rocker utilizes wheelchair restraints to maintain the wheelchair at a fixed relative position while the device operates on a standard 110-V outlet. It utilizes industrial tie-downs to ensure safety and stability for the client and ease of mind for the staff.  Having the rocker means that the staff is able to offer comfort and recreation to numbers of children.  The client rolls up ramp onto rocker, and the wheelchair is held secure with spring-loaded tie-downs. A two-speed motor controls the rocking speed, providing a comfortable and soothing rocking motion without having to remove the client from their chair.

8 - Wheelchair Rocker
Figure 8.  The wheelchair rocker and ramp