The Parkincycle

A mobility aid that exploits Parkinsons' sufferers' unique ability to ride a bike

The Parkincycle is the product of a first-year design studio group project completed under Dr. Michael Naish, which addresses the prompt “Design an engineered solution that eliminates or reduces one or more barriers to accessibility.”

The group used an iterative design process and objective tools to define the objectives and constraints, generate concepts, select a concept, and perform detailed design and analysis. The concept for the Parkincycle is based on the fact that many people suffering from Parkinson’s disease are unable to walk, but completely retain their ability to ride a bike (New England Journal of Medicine). While medicine doesn’t know the exact reason for this, cycling is often prescribed as a treatment for Parkinsons, a phenomenon that provides a clear opportunity for innovation. The Parkincycle is designed to allow riders to get around indoor and outdoor spaces where a bike may not be a practical solution.

The team completed the conceptual and detailed design for an initial prototype of the Parkincycle. Additionally, the team constructed a prototype of the tension-activated unlocking differential design that provided the Parkincycle the ability to maintain a straight course and brake effectively, but use the same mechanism to turn, reducing input degrees of freedom that could confuse users.