A smart mass customization design tool: a case study of a portable ramp for wheelchair users
Portable ramps are generally used by wheelchair users, provide temporary solution to increase accessibility in their daily lives. Portable ramps should allow for modifications in terms of weight, length, load bearing capacity, ease of handling, storage and further design parameters. Different types of portable ramps can be found in the market; however, their modifications cannot go beyond just length modification, or they allow to select just some restricted width options. However, portable ramps are quite suitable for mass customization concept which helps to satisfy customer while being involved in design step. This study aims to determine the wheelchair users’ expectations and correspondingly to offer a smart mass customization design tool which potential users are able to interact with easily. To this end, a case study is conducted with a rollable ramp which is designed and developed within the scope of 1512 – Entrepreneurship Multi-phase Programme (Teknogirişim Sermaye Desteği Programı) of The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). The methodology and its implementation are described elaborately, and example of a parametric smart customization tool design are illustrated in this study. First, the preliminary study is explained briefly. Afterward, the desired modification parameters are determined with literature and patent survey as well as observation and interviews with the potential users. After systematic review and evaluation of user experiences, the model is assessed.