Mobile Cleaning Station

Designers: Laura Angle, Rae Luan, and Sylvia Qu
Client Coordinator: Janet Howle
Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs

Our five-year-old client loves to clean the house, but this task is difficult because he has cerebral palsy and uses a walker to ambulate. We built the Mobile Cleaning Station to help him clean independently while standing upright. This wooden cart holds cleaning equipment and doubles as a stable anterior walker. It moves forward only when hand-brakes are released, giving the user full control over mobility. The Mobile Cleaning Station is durable, portable, and easy to store. Using the station, our client can clean around the house by himself, as well as strengthen his hips and mid-trunk through standing and walking.

The Mobile Cleaning Station allows our client to perform cleaning activities independently while in an upright position. The client’s mother noted, “This is the next developmental stage [him]. You want him weight bearing and walking, not just standing. [The Mobile Cleaning Station] allows him to strengthen himself that way.” The client himself was extremely pleased with the device and described it as “very good.”

The Mobile Cleaning Station (Figure 1) includes a wooden base with two 2” diameter swivel casters in front. The cart base is constructed from ¾” and ½” thick plywood secured using wood glue. The middle 5” diameter wheels are attached to the base using a threaded rod secured with three copper straps. Aluminum blocks in the back corners of the base anchor the attachments for the removable side support rails. These rails are made of ¾” galvanized steel conduit piping and add stability to the cart, preventing tipping forwards and backwards. Swivel casters are attached to the end of the side support rails. Each side support is attached to the main cart body by sliding over a vertical aluminum rod, which is secured in the aluminum block. Two spring plungers on each vertical rod fasten the side supports in place. The side supports can be easily installed and removed by depressing the spring plungers. The aluminum blocks also anchor the sides, back, and bottom of the base, which are bolted into the blocks.

The vertical supports for the handlebars are made of ¾” by 2½” hardwood, while the handlebar is a 22” long piece of 7/8” diameter aluminum tubing, with handgrips attached on either side. The handlebar is height-adjustable through a range of 4 inches. Each vertical support consists of two pieces of hardwood secured together by knob screws tightened into threaded inserts. Loosening the knob screws allows the handlebars to be raised or lowered.

The base accommodates a sweeper vacuum as well as a child-sized mop and broom. An upper wooden basket is made of ½” plywood and intended for storage of smaller items such as a duster. Three metal spring clamps along the front side of the basket hold the handles of the vacuum, mop, and broom in an organized fashion.

Brakes on the middle wheels allow the user to control the mobility of the cart. The brake parts are modified from walker brakes, and include a brake pad and spring. The brake pads are controlled by one brake lever on the left side of the handlebar. When the brake lever is not depressed, the brake pads are applied, making the cart difficult to push. Depressing the brake lever raises both brake pads, allowing the cart to move.

Padding on the back of the basket and handgrips on the side support rails increase user comfort. Corner bumpers on the front of the cart make the station safe for furniture. Red accents throughout the device – basket, middle wheels, and hand grips – make the Mobile Cleaning Station more attractive to young users. Figure 2 shows the client using the sweeper vacuum. The cost of all components of the device is approximately $350.

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