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Project 1a: Pool Access


This project aims to design and construct a machine to help an ambulatory girl who has a tracheostomy and a ventilator. This project will allow her to enjoy her pool with her family and friends.

Jacob Beaty, Spencer Moore, Jase Horner, Clayton Baldwin, Tyler Wiggins

Problem Statement

The child this team had the privilege of working with is ambulatory, but overall, very weak. She also has a tracheostomy and a ventilator. These facts combine to limit her mobility, but she does not let this stop her from doing everyday activities. One of these activities she enjoys is swimming in her above-ground pool. The issue is that she cannot climb the ladder to access the pool, and it is becoming a challenge for her mother or father to balance her on top of the ladder to assist her into the pool. The project’s initial intentions were to design and produce a platform of some kind to allow her to comfortably get to the top ledge of the pool where she can be helped in. However, after further discussion with the child’s mother, she made some additional requests that she believed would greatly benefit her child. These included a mechanism to assist the child from the platform into the water and a bench for her and her friends to sit on while in the pool.

Design Specifications

  •  Safety
  •  Ease of use
  •  Aesthetic design
  •  Must fit in allowed workable space
  •  Must accommodate ventilator and other equipment

Background Research

After the team met with the family and child, they did research into solutions that have already been created. These options range from gradual stairs with handrails to hydraulic chair lifts. They loosely based new design concepts around these available options while taking new certain design specifications into account.

Concept Design 1

Hydraulic Chair/Bench Lift

In this design, we have a hydraulic chair lift. This device will have a bench-style seat for the child to sit in, then it will lift them up and over the pool. It will be adjustable for any height when she reaches the water level. This system will have to be anchored into the ground, either with concrete, or ground surface anchors.


  • No need for a platform
  • Comfortable to sit in
  • User friendly
  • Simplistic design


  • It must be anchored into the ground
  • Could have weak joint
  • Less stable

304 Stainless Steel

Concept Design 2

Elongated Steps with Pool Bench Access

A staircase will be built to enter the pool. Instead of building a normal staircase that has a step height of 8 in. the step height will be altered to 4 in. to allow the child to climb them. On the interior of the pool, there will be a platform that will be raised up to a safe height. This platform will be made out of 304 stainless steel to prevent corrosion over time. The bottom of this platform will have a soft rubber pad to keep the bottom of the pool safe.


  • Safe height range with a ventilator (Interior)
  • Adjustable (Interior)
  • Stable design (Exterior)
  • Withstand over time (Exterior)


  • Hard to keep in place without anchors (Interior)
  •  Physical challenges to climb (Exterior)

304 Stainless Steel or PVC (Interior)
Treated lumber and or composite decking (Exterior)

Concept Design 3

Scissor Lift with Pool Bench Access

In this design approach, a modified scissor lift with railings and a gate will be utilized to access the platform connected to the pool bench. The elevation of the platform will be managed by either a hydraulic or screw-type mechanism. Once at the required height, the scissor lift will provide a landing for access to a platform within the pool. The railing will also provide a sturdy and accessible mounting spot for the required breathing machine.


    • Easy access into and out of the pool

    • No assistance required

    • Mounting areas for a breathing machine


    • Complicated Design

    • Expensive to build


Stainless Steel or PVC

Hydraulic Cylinder/Screw Mechanism

Hydraulic Fluid Reservoir

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

Design concept 2 was chosen due to a limited budget, however, concept 3 is still in consideration depending on the approved budget.


2023 Spring