Garden Tools

Designers: Angela Cho, Jenna Freedman, Minyoung Ryoo

Client Coordinators: Linda Cates, PT

Supervising Professor: Kevin Caves


Our client, Bea, is a young grandmother who has sustained multiple traumas that have left her with weak limbs and limited mobility. In 2006, the client survived a serious car accident that left her with shattered bones throughout her body. Although recovery was as successful as possible, Bea has fallen multiple times afterwards further limiting her abilities. Despite these obstacles, she is a bright, hopeful individual who strives for more strength and independence.

Bea has a passion for gardening but due to her limitations, she has been unable to tend to her beautiful garden. She is able to fully extend her right arm and raise it over her head but her wrist is fused, restricting flexion and extension. Her left arm cannot fully extend due to an elbow replacement but she has full function of the wrist. Bea has a difficult time using heavier tools and fully extending to reach the garden due to strength and motion restrictions of her arms. Her right leg has a knee replacement but has full range of motion. Her left leg is amputated above the knee and is attached to a C-leg, a prosthetic with a microprocessor knee [1]. Bea is able to stand and transfer herself into different wheelchairs but due to the recent falls, is unable to safely walk on her own. Due to the design of her wheelchair, she currently sits too high to reach the garden without feeling as if she might fall out while bending over. This creates a very unsafe situation and the fear of falling prevents the client from gardening.

Specifically, Bea would like to be able to de-weed and plant in her garden. She currently owns telescoping tools that she can use from her wheelchair but that do not allow her to exert enough force to effectively garden. Additionally, she owns a commercial gardening cart that is lower than her wheelchair but is unstable and is unsafe for her to transfer to and from. There are many different low transportation devices that could help Bea move about closer to the garden such as a trike [2] and even ways to lift the garden to her with square foot gardening tables [3], but none satisfy all of Bea’s needs.

Project Goals

The goal of our project is to design a device or devices that will allow our client to safely and independently garden in her backyard. The design(s) will have to take into account the garden terrain, the budget of $400, the client’s comfort, and most importantly the client’s safety. Ultimately and quite simply, the hope is to help Bea get back in her garden again.


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