2019 / Senior Capstone Project

Designer, Fabricator, Documentation Lead

Fall 2018-Spring 2019

Tools Used:
SolidWorks, Laser Cutter, 3D Printer

Design Overview

Serve & Go is a modular wheelchair tray accessory designed to allow cafe employees with cerebral palsy deliver multiple food and drink orders at once. I worked in a team of four to design Serve & Go with the input from our client, Marta, who worked at the Grab & Go Cafe in the Bronx, NY. My team and I would meet with Marta weekly as we iterated through prototypes and made design decisions. It was our goal to make a product that could mount to her wheelchair, securely carry money and food and drink orders, and stow away conveniently when not in use. The image shown above is our final prototype and was awarded 3rd place out of 21 teams at the New York State Industries for the Disabled’s annual CREATE Symposium in Albany, New York.


My group’s senior capstone project was sponsored by the New York State Industries for the Disabled’s CREATE program, which pairs higher education engineering programs with organizations that advocate for the employment of individuals with disabilities. As part of the CREATE program, student teams are funded for one year to develop assistive workplace technology to empower an employee and help them succeed at their job. My school was paired with the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State (CP of NYS). For the first half of the year, my team and I visited different employees that were placed in jobs through CP of NYS to identify our client. My team chose to work with Marta, an employee at the Grab & Go Cafe that delivers food and beverage orders to other employees in the office building where the cafe is located. Our goal was to design, prototype, and deliver a wheelchair tray accessory that would allow Marta to safely transport food items, hot beverages, and money throughout the day.

Team with our client, Marta.

Method and Results

Every week, my team and I would meet with Marta at her job and review our progress with her. In order to make sure our designs would work for her, we had her test each element of our product before combining them all into the final design. We designed a flexible but sturdy spring-loaded cup-holder that would secure hot beverages, including covers to contain any possible spill during transport. We chose lightweight MDF and acrylic to reduce the weight of the tray, and used friction hinges to make sure the tray would hold its position when opened for use. 

I was responsible for making the various prototypes and helped design parts to make sure the fabrication process would be straightforward. I laser cut the acrylic and MDF layers, secured them together with epoxy, drilled and assembled the spring-loaded cup-holders, and installed the hinges. 

As part of the CREATE program, our design was submitted to the CREATE symposium, a statewide competition among all the participating higher education programs, where it was awarded 3rd place. Finally, my team and I delivered the final prototype to Marta and installed it on her wheelchair at the end of spring 2019. Last we heard, she’s still using it at work!

Cup holder prototype using fabric covered springs to secure drinks placed inside.
CAD rendering of cup holder covers.