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Rotating Cup and Retractable Track

This project began in spring semester 2016 for a resident at the Heinzerling Foundation. The goal of the project is to design a tool to help a resident become able to drink on her own. Currently, she has the capability to eat on her own, but for some reason becomes very reluctant to hold and drink from a cup, often throwing or pushing it out of the way. To help her become more independent, the team is working to create a more fun drinking experience and find a way to give her the freedom to hold the cup when she wants without forcing it in front of her.

The past semester we have been exploring two possible designs for this. The first is a cup held a few inches in the air that rotates on an axis. This rotation allows for the cup to be as close to or far away from the resident as she likes. With a push, the cup can be rotated around the axis and basically off her table and out of sight. With another push it can come right back to her. This way she has the ability to drink from the straw in the cup or get rid of it as she pleases. A lot of work has gone into this design to simplify it and make it as easy for the caretakers to set up as possible. We have come very close to finishing two different prototypes of this design and hope to begin testing early fall 2016. Here you can see a SOLIDWORKS assembly for one of those designs.

computer software design of cup and track

The second design we have been studying is that of a cup on a track. The track would ideally position the cup on the opposite end of the table. The resident would be able to pull the cup up to her and drink from the straw. When she let’s go or pushes the cup away, the cup would return to the other end of the table slowly with a mechanism similar to that of a soft-close cupboard. This past semester we have been analyzing tracks for soft-close cupboards, taking them apart and looking at the feasibility of creating our own. This has proven to be a very challenging, but promising task. We are going to continue to analyze and assess the possibility of this design this coming semester.

For more information regarding this project contact the project manager, Rachel Novinc at