Multi-Function Work Table

Designers:  Jeff Barry, Joseph Kuo, Peter Zolides
Supervising Professors: Kevin Caves, Richard Goldberg

Our client has a slow moving form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis which results in weakness in his upper arms and legs.  As such, he spends much of his time in a wheelchair.  He likes to read and work on crossword puzzles but it is awkward for him to rest his book or puzzle on a table or a TV tray because it strains his neck.  We designed a portable table that attaches to the clients wheelchair and tilts, allowing him to position his book or crossword puzzle in a comfortable, ergonomic position.

Our client stated, “I haven’t been able to read more than one book since moving here; and with this new table, I’m looking forward to getting back to reading on a regular basis.”

The Multi-Function Work Table (Figure 1) is made from quarter-inch thick sheet of Acrylite.  It is attached to a furniture grade PVC tube frame that enables the tray to tilt and swing to the side.  The tray has a wrist rest at the edge closest to the client, which also serves as a book support when the tray is in book reading mode.

The table consists of two main parts: a mount that is semi-permanently attached to the chair, and a table that is easily attached and removed.  A 1” diameter steel tube was attached to the wheelchair via custom plastic mounts that hold the table at the correct height.  The table has a ¾” steel bar that inserts into the 1” tube on the wheelchair.  The tubes are machined such that the tray can be flipped up 100 degrees to the side, so the client can get out of his chair without removing the tray.

The surface of the tray can be tilted toward the client and locks into place at an angle of 55 degrees.  The padded wrist rest serves as a book rest when in this position.  The book rest slides in slots milled into the tray surface and can be moved to three different positions to accommodate books of different sizes.

The writing surface is made from Acrylite, a durable and light and surface for writing.  It is covered by a sheet of custom-fit InvisibleShield®.  This is a material used to coat expensive electronics devices to protect them from scratches.  Two section of Stickypad® are attached to the upper left and right corners of the tray, providing a non-slip surface for items such as a pencil or cell phone.  Cost of parts was about $240.

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