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A Safer Mowing Experience 

A design proposal for a residential riding lawn mower with a stability system that minimizes the chances of rollovers when operating on slopes of up to 30 degrees.

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Overview

Objective

This project investigates residential riding lawnmower-related injuries, aiming to develop safer and more enjoyable mowing experiences. Phase one delves into the contributing factors of injuries, while phase two focuses on concept exploration, prototyping, testing, and refinement.

Startegy

Discovery

Researched user pain points for insights

Define

Idetified project-focus areas

Ideate

Developed wireframes, user journeys

Proposal

Prototype the solutions

Solution

A design proposal for a residential riding lawn mower with a stability system that minimizes the chances of rollovers when operating on slopes of up to 30 degrees.

Discovery

Research Question: What are the conditions and contributing factors of residential lawn mower-related injuries? 

Literature Review

Injuries & Contributing Factors

Mowing the lawn is the most common lawn care activity amongst Americans; and to do so, millions of Americans get on or behind lawnmowers.

Push-mowers are involved in more injury-inducing incidents but riding-mowers inflict more severe injuries.

 

“Emergency rooms are seeing an increase in riding mower injuries” (Jones et al.). From 2002 to 2008 an estimated “66,341 emergency department visits for injuries related to the use of a riding lawn mower occurred in the U.S.” (Hammig, Bart, et al. 372).

 

Circumstances often pertained to falling off of the mower or having the mower rollover while in use. “These two mechanisms accounted for approximately 44% of all injuries”

(Hammig, Bart, et al. 373). The risk factor increase when mowers are being operated on an incline in unfavorable conditions

Primary Sources Research

I conducted interviews and surveys with over 60 stakeholders for better insight into how rollovers are happening and how they are affecting users. These stakeholders included victims of lawnmower accidents, casual and commercial users, and lawnmower designers.

Market Review

Preventative Tech & Strategies?

The key manufacturers have taken steps towards creating a safer experience for riding mower users.  Still, the literature findings indicate that rollovers and falling off a lawnmower are still leading contributing factors to injuries. As such, there is an opportunity to continue exploring and developing preventative strategies and technologies.

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Design Criteria

The design criteria are derived from the risk factors and circumstances of riding lawn mower rollovers. Additionally, the inputs from stakeholders (users, victims, retailers, and mechanics) provide a great deal of insight into what is needed and expected.

Define

In this phase, I define the problem based on insights from the empathize phase, synthesizing research findings to understand users' needs and expectations.

Design Criteria

The design criteria are derived from the risk factors and circumstances of riding lawn mower rollovers. Additionally, the inputs from stakeholders (users, victims, retailers, and mechanics) provide a great deal of insight into what is needed and expected.

Design Proposal

The literature findings and gaps in the riding residential mower market indicate that rollovers will continue to cause injuries across the U.S. and males between the ages of 25 and 64 years old will continue to be at a higher risk.

Design a residential riding lawn mower with a stability system that minimizes rollovers.

 

*This mower should be able to operate safely on slopes of up to 30 degrees

How might the wheel and suspension design maximizes ground-contact and minimize slippage and instability on slopes?

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Ideate

Understanding the users' wants, needs, and expectations, I proceed to generate potential solutions for the defined problem. I explore diverse ideas and concepts without judgment to foster creativity and innovation.

Wheel & Suspension
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Housing & Control

Specifications are based on the American National Standard Institue (ANSI/OPEI B71.1-2017)

The vehicle needs to accommodate the 5th and 95th percentile adult male operator who has dressed appropriately for the weather in the machine is being operated

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Users were critical of the fragile look of the mower due to the exposed tubing structure. The user felt the tubing structure made the mower appeared fragile or not rigid enough to accomplish what it’s aiming to do. They were also critical of the seating position (sitting on the mower instead of in it); they were concerned that they would be ejected from their seat when operating at a certain angle due to the lack of any side support. The users also wanted more affordance and space when entering and exit the mower.

Getting & Integrating Feedback

Wheel & Suspension
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Refinement

To address the issue of the fragile appearance, I covered the tubing structures, which adds visual weight and a sense of sturdiness. I also placed a  unifying form (circle) in the center of the overall form factor. This creates a single point where the overall form radiates from, adding unity, consistency, and motion to the form factor.

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I also shorten the wheelbase of the design which reduces flexing of the frame; a shorter frame also means moving more mass to the center of the design, adding better weight distribution and added stability. I lowered the seat which created sidebars; these bars will prevent the operator from sliding off the vehicle when it is at an angle.

 However, lowering the seat reduces over-the-shoulder visibility for the operator. To address the poor visibility caused by lowering the seat, I steepen the slope of the sidebars and reduce the size of the front wheels to allow the operator to see over them. 

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Proposal

A design proposal for a residential riding lawn mower with a stability system that minimizes the chances of rollovers when operating on slopes of up to 30 degrees.

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mid-positioned adjustable seating

6 position adjustable deck

32in main deck

responsive tires

anti-slip floor

storage compartment

articulating frame

16in side blades

made of ABS  & nickel-alloy steel

powered by 4 brushless motors

other works

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