North Miami Beach Senior High School InvenTeam
A large number of elderly people suffer from musculoskeletal problems, which limit their mobility. Many also live in apartment buildings that do not have bathrooms with shower access for the disabled, so they are forced to use bathtubs, which can result in falls or accidents.
The North Beach Senior High School InvenTeam decided to create a device to help the elderly who do not have handicap accessible bathrooms get in and out of a bathtub safely.
The team's invention, the Bath-O-Lift, is a device that allows the elderly or moderately disabled move in and out of a bathtub independently. The device consists of an adjustable polymer plastic seat (20"x 20") and an aluminum frame (22.5" x 36"). The seat has a swivel effect for mobility and is controlled by a switch. The recliner (16" x 14.5") weighs 50-60 pounds and is powered by a plastic rope and DC battery. The Bath-O-Lift also features a curtain so water does not splash outside of the tub.
The North Beach Senior High School InvenTeam first brainstormed and researched the need for the Bath-O-Lift. The team members then examined their grandparents' bathrooms for potential problems, recorded design measurements, and also collected input from the elderly members of the community.
The students then worked on the initial prototype, which was constructed with wood and metal, but was not motorized. After attempting to construct the Bath-O-Lift from scratch, the team realized household items would serve well. They used a motor from a child's motorized vehicle and a fishing seat from a boat supply store. The team also contacted its local Home Depot, which donated some materials and tools to their invention project. The design process taught the students a valuable lesson about mechanical improvisation.