Project Brief Example

Project Brief Example: The Power Wheel Chair Trainer

In the fall of 2008, a group of engineering students at Grand Valley State University accepted the challenge to design a machine to help severely and multiply handicapped children learn to control a powered wheel chair.  In order for people to qualify for financial assistance to purchase a powered wheel chair, they must prove that they can safely control a powered wheel chair.  Severely handicapped people face two significant obstacles in proving they can safely control a powered wheel chair.  First they may require more practice time to learn the skills to required to control a powered wheel chair.  This learning curve can extend to a number of months.   Second, severely handicapped people often use highly customized manual wheel chairs.   These wheel chairs have special features that improve the user’s ability to interact  with their environment.  Without these features the physical abilities of the user can be severely diminished.

Sponsor – Lisa Q. Public, Physical Therapist, South Grand Rapids Intermediate School District,  333 – 550 – 1234,
Product Benefits -The device will temporarily convert a  customized, four-wheel manual wheelchair into a power wheel chair in order to  help severely and multiply handicapped children learn to control a powered wheel chairs while in the familiar surroundings of their own customized manual wheel chair.

Definition of the Target Market – The power wheel chair trainer will be sold to physical therapists at schools and institutions that work with severely and multiply handicapped children.

  1. Demographics
    1. The majority of physical therapists are women.
    2.  Because of the physical nature of the work physical therapists tend to be young, aged 25 to 45.
    3.  Physical therapists are well educated because the entry degree into the field was a Masters degree and is now moving to a PhD.
    4. The average salary for physical therapist is$81,110 per year. (US News and World Report)
  2. Geography
    1. This product is more likely to be sold in areas of the world that can afford more generous social services. The brings to mind developed countries like the United States, Canada, and countries belonging to the European Union. Within the United States, there are some states that have more generous social services than other states. States such as California and Connecticut are known for their generous social services.
  3. Lifestyle
    1. This category not differentiate between physical therapists that would be interested in the product and physical therapists that would probably not be interested in the product.
  4. Benefits
    • Since all customers derive the same benefit from the product, this category will not differentiate between physical therapists were interested in the product and those were probably not interested in the product.
  5.  Loyalty –
    1. Schools and institutions that strive to empower their students to be as independent as possible are most likely to be interested in the product.  These progressive schools and institutions often  follow the MOVE curriculum and use equipment supplied by Rifton Corporation.

Buyer Type Model – Determine who is involved in the purchasing decision for your product.

  1.  Buyer -The person who pays the bill.
    1. When a school system purchases equipment, and account usually prepares the check and sends it to the supplier. Therefore the buyer in this case would be an accountant employed by the school system.
  2. User – The person who uses the product.
    1. The users of the product include the children with multiple and severe handicaps as well as the physical therapists who work with the children and the piece of equipment.
  3. Influencer – The person who influences the decision to buy.
    1. In order to convince the school system to buy this piece of equipment the physical therapists and perhaps family members of the children who will use the product will need to convince the decider to our current money to the purchase. Therefore the important influencers in this buying decision are the physical therapists and the families of the children.
  4. Decider – The person who makes the decision to purchase the product.
    1. The decider is the person who controls the budget. They are approval is needed before any money can be spent. In most school systems this is a principle or superintendent.

Value Proposition – Define and quantify why people in the target market will buy your products.

  1. Without a power wheelchair most of these children will be pushed around in their manual wheelchairs by a parent or caregiver. In other words, these children will have no say in where they go and what they do. Therefore, how much would a parent or school system pay in order to allow children the dignity of making the most basic choices of where they want to go.Unfortunately, attaching a dollar value to the dignity of a child is very difficult.
Competition – Describe the ways people in the target market achieve the benefits of your product now.
  1. There are no products in direct competition with this product.
  2. To achieve the benefit of the product, namely training students with severe and multiple handicaps to operate power wheelchairs, physical therapists rely on companies that sell power wheelchairs to supply the school with off-the-shelf power wheelchairs in order to train students the physical therapist believe are good candidates for power mobility. The physical therapists often spend a lot of time figuring out how to position the student in a off-the-shelf power wheelchair so that the student can operate the power wheelchair
Assumptions – Identify the assumptions the project sponsor has made.
  1. The success of the project rests on the assumption that students with severe multiple handicaps will be able to learn how to drive power wheelchairs using this device.

Scope Limitations – Outline the facts about your project that limit the scope of your project.  You can not solve every problem your sponsor faces.

  1. The device will be battery powered and employ motors similar to existing powered wheel chairs.

Avenues for Innovation and Creativity – Describe where your team will focus their creativity to design an innovative product.

  1. Since custom manual wheelchairs are made in many different sizes and configurations, designing the product to work with all of the different types of manual wheelchairs is an area for creativity and innovation.
Project objectives-what do you want to accomplish and when do you intend to accomplish. What will be the final deliverables to the project sponsor? What will the sponsor do with your deliverables?
  1. Design and build the device by December 15.
  2. Provide all engineering documentation for the device including: prints, Bill of materials, calculations that show the device meets specifications and lab reports that show the device meets specifications. All documentation is due by December 15.
  3. The sponsor will use the prototype to train students with multiple and severe handicaps to drive power wheelchair. Design documentation will be used to build additional devices.


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