P08002: Automated Parallel Bars


Table of Contents

Project Overview

The physical therapy clinic at Nazareth College currently makes use of adjustable parallel bars to aid patients in practicing walking. The existing system is difficult to adjust (6-pin system) and the bars are not attached to the uprights that support them. Often, due to the length of the bars and difficulty in aligning, the bars are not completely horizontal. Additionally, if a therapist gets a patient into position on the bars, only to find out that the height needs a slight adjustment, it is often difficult for the patient to sit back down and stand up again so the session is aborted. To improve the system, the clinic would like to have a set of bars with automated height adjustment.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. BES-0527358. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

The primary challenges of this project are:

  1. Ensuring that each bar can be adjusted smoothly and evenly
  2. Developing a system that is rigid enough to support patient weight during a session, but is still adjustable when someone is leaning on the bars

Project Pictures

Parallel Bars

Parallel Bars

There are 6 uprights that hold the bars (3 for each bar). This system uses a simple pin locking system which makes setup very tough.

There are 6 uprights that hold the bars (3 for each bar). This system uses a simple pin locking system which makes setup very tough.

Picture of the base of the upright

Picture of the base of the upright

Pictures of finished and installed project
Full system Without Bars

Full system Without Bars

Raising Mechinism Without Bars

Raising Mechinism Without Bars

Start, without bars. At max hight

Start, without bars. At max hight

Raising Mechinism With Bars

Raising Mechinism With Bars

Old vs new comparision

Old vs new comparision

full system

full system

full system

full system

full system

full system

full system

full system

Administrative Information

Project Name
Automated Parallel Bars
Project Number
Project Family
NSF Assistive Devices
Assistive Devices and Bioengineering
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Elizabeth DeBartolo
Faculty Counselor
Matthew Marshall
Project Lead
Ryan Hellems
Primary Customer
J. J. Mowder-Tinney
Customer contact information
Nazareth College Physical Therapy
JJ Mowder - Tinney PT, MS, NCS, CWS
Director of Clinical Education
Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
585-389-2908 (Office)
585-389-2908 (Fax)
Principle Sponsor or Sponsoring Organization:
National Science Foundation

Team Documents

This outline for the posting of team created documents follows the general product development process presented in the textbook "Product Design and Development" by Ulrich and Eppinger.

Portions of the team documents have been prepared by a DPM student prior to the launch of this project. This information is intended to help get the team started with a first draft needs assessment and work breakdown structure. The team members can adapt this information as the project progresses.

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Mission Statement

Staffing Requirements

Customer Constraints

Intellectual Property Considerations

Preliminary Work Breakdown Structure

Team Values and Norms

Grading and Assessment Scheme

Required Resources

Concept Development

Identify Customer Needs

Establish Target Specifications

Generate Product Concepts

Select Product Concept(s)

Test Product Concept(s)

Set Final Specifications

Important and Useful Senior Design 1 Documents

Meeting Agenda's Node

Team Organization

Roles and Responsibilities

1-Page Project Summary

MSD I Project Plan

Customer Needs and Engineering Specifications

Functional Block Diagram


Design Review Meeting Notes

Failure Analysis

Important and Useful Senior Design 2 Documents

Actual Ordered Parts Budget

Machining Checklist


MSD II Project Plan

2D As Builts

3D Drawings of System

ANSYS Results

Detail Design

Design for Safety

Design for Strength & Torque Calculations

Testing and Refinement


Test Plans

Published Documents

As you conclude the project, include links to all of your finished and fully polished documents here. The previous sections of the web site contain the entire design history of your project. This section contains the finished products. Add more links as needed.

Concept Design Review Documents (SD I)

Concept Design Review Pre-Read (SD I)

Detailed Design Review Documents (SD I)

Managerial Design Review Presentation (SD I)

Technical Conference Publication (SD II)

Poster Publication (SD II)

Managerial Design Review Presentation (SD II)

Photo Gallery