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Group 5: Sensory Swing


This project’s goal is to design and create a platform and cocoon swing to block light for an autistic toddler.

Braden Irwin, Scott Faulkner & Nathan Weissert

Problem Statement

Our goal is to assist the family of a toddler diagnosed with autism. He is nonverbal and prone to breakdowns. The motion of the swing would help to calm him down and reduce the frustrations imposed by his condition. The swing needs to be large and robust enough to support both the child and the mother at the same time. Moreover, the swing needs to be detachable so it can be removed from a door frame and replaced with a cocoon swing which has comforting qualities.

Design Specifications

  • A mount point is required to easily switch out the swings
  • The platform swing must be able to accommodate 2 individuals and be rated for 300 pounds
  • The cocoon swing should block out light and noise
  • Also, side-to-side motion should be minimized if it’s mounted in the doorway

Background Research

Could potentially use hammock mounts rated for 1000 pounds.

Could also use an idea similar to barn-shed-play stainless steel E Hook swing hangers. Each hanger individually is rated for up to 350 pounds for each hook.

Concept Design 1

Nathan’s Concept Design

The idea with this design is to have a fixed anchor on the top of the door frame with rope or slack lines that connect to the seat in its corners. The seat itself will be covered with some cushions for comfort with a little on the side to protect the side of the door frame. The ropes will be connected via carabiner so it is easy to put up, take down, and store so it does not take up much space. I was also thinking of adding a backboard for the seat that could be foldable so it does not effect the storage capabilities.

Concept Design 2

Laminated veneer lumber (~2.5 stronger than standard framing lumber) would span the load bearing walls 3’ from the door frame.
The nylon bushing has a channel that would constrain the motion in one axis. And the mechanical ball bearing would allow the swing to swivel.

a) Rotation capability,
b) Allows egress through door while swing in use,
c) Single mount point provides for easy swapping with cocoon swing.

a) Not in customer’s first choice location,
b) Somewhat cost-prohibitive.

Concept Design 3

Design 3 certainly resembles Nathan’s design 1 but it is slightly different. It will be bolted in at the top using the steel swing hooks found in the background research section. These hooks do not allow the swing to move much laterally which is good for a doorway swing, however, I still would like to add padding to the outside of the swing frame just to be safe. The corners of the swing frame will have something similar to that of the hammock hooks also found in the background research. the ropes will have a detachable hook at the ends which will hook onto the hammock hooks at the bottom. There will be some padding on the frame as well so it is not uncomfortable to sit on. I would also like to implement some rods near the middle of the ropes that would act as a stabilizer as well as a hand rail if the child wished to stand on the swing.

Selected Concept Design

We chose a mix of design 1 and 3. Using the carabiner ideas from each, making each mounting point have an associated carabiner so everything can be put stored easily.  We also chose to avoid using design 1’s swing base with the crossing beams as it would be more complicated than necessary. We decided to not use design 2 as, while it is the strongest, it would cost more and is overall more complicated than the other designs.

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

The plan with this design is that we wanted it to be easy to put up and take down while still having good strength. Because of this, we have each connection point as a combination of bolt, to carabiner, to rope. This will allow the rope to be easily attached and detached from the doorframe and seat. For the seat, we wanted a simple flat design, which will allow for good spacing and simple yet effective build strength.


24” x 24”x1/2” (1): Flat wooden board for main seat platform.

300LB+ Carabiners (4) : For ease of putting up and taking down, these connect to hammock hangers

500LB Rope (20+ft) : Used to hold swing on doorframe

Hammock Hangers (2) : Used for bolting into doorframe and to the seats frame

Steel Eye Bolt (4) : To attach rope to wooden platform

Washers (8) : Washers for Eye Bolts

Soft Carpet (~5sqft) : Applied on wood for padding/softness

Rubber Feet (4) : To cover any exposed bolts on the bottom of wood

Engineering Analysis 1

For this analysis, I wanted to find the forces that will be acting on the rope from a 2D perspective by using static force analysis.

Document Fabrication Process

Document your build process with text and images.

Testing Results

Describe testing to ensure the system is safe.


2021 Fall