college of engineering white

Project 2: Outdoor Traveler


Our team is tasked with building a piece of equipment, “The Traveler”, to assist the parents of a young boy in transporting him at frequently visited state parks and around their property. The primary goal of this project is to provide the client with a well functioning transport device while considering safety, cost, weight, and other additional key design considerations.

Left to Right: Blake Etter, Bryson Carwile, Nick Moulton, Hank Moneymaker, Adam Guillory

Problem Statement

Andrew is a three year old boy with mobility issues. His family has requested a way to travel with him outdoors so he can enjoy nature. They have asked that this traveler be foldable, light, pullable, and able to fit in the luggage carrier of their vehicle. This traveler needs to be able to be hung from the rafters in a garage and have the seat be a carseat. If the car seat is detachable for for future conversion that is a plus and the traveler needs brakes since this will be used in the outdoors on uneven terrain.

Design Specifications

  • Pullable
  • Lightweight
  • Foldable
  • Hangable
  • Detachable Seat
  • Transportable in luggage rack of vehicle
  • No contact points around neck of child
  • Offroad
  • Minimum 3 point harness
  • Storage ability

Background Research

For our background research we looked at a Monowalker, that was also pictured in the project list. We liked the design of this mechanism and its ease of storage capabilities. However, we had concerns over the stability of the mechanism, the cost, and shipping time of the Monowalker.

Concept Design 1

Our first concept design was based off a simple bike trailer. We liked the design of this trailer and considered modifying it with a car seat and heavy-duty tires. We also would have to design a way to attach the trailer to a person, so they could pull the child behind them.

Concept Design 2

For our 2nd concept design, we looked into using the QuietKat hiking trailer as a base. We liked the fact that it has tons of storage, kickstands for it to setup while not pulling, and a suspension system. With this idea we will have to adjust how the traveler is pulled, mount a seat bracket adaptable for a carseat, and fix the handles into the harness of the puller. The vest would be used to pull the cart behind the user.

Concept Design 3

For our 3rd concept we have designed a 4 wheel traveler with an x shaped axle design. The axles will be foldable along the x axis and the seat will be seated quite low to lower the center of gravity and improve stability. This design will feature a pullable wire braking system attached to the harness that will have a locking mechanism. This design will feature a removable car seat, shocks for the seat and hooks to hang the traveler from the rafters. The wheels will have a design similar to a shopping cart’s wheels that can swivel for easy turning and reorientation of the vehicle. This design should meet all of our requirements while being quite light and maneuverable.

Selected Concept Design

While each proposed concept design had its own merits, the team decided to pursue concept design 2. This was mostly due to one of the primary concerns for the family being the ability to turn the traveler very tightly during use, while also taking the decision matrix results into consideration.

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

Our vision is to redesign a bike trailer to be used by a human. We will cut off the bars that attach the trailer to a bike and replace them with custom fabricated handle bars. These handlebars will attach to a harness worn by the user. The cargo space will be reserved and a metal plate will be welded on top to act as an anchor point for a carseat. The cargo area will also be enclosed with a metal mesh so items stored therin will not fall out.

Describe Design Details

Starting with the handlebars, we will fabricate steel handlebars and weld them to the cart. They will form a sort of Z orientation leaving the bike to add some height to the handles and reduce the angle at which the cart will rest. These handlebars will have a rubber handle inserted over the end to increase comfort for the user. We will also weld a form of C clip to the handle bars. The harness the user wears will clip to this handlebar to help reduce load on the user and increase comfort.
For the main function of this traveler, we will weld a metal plate to the top of the cargo area at the back. This plate will have 2-4 anchor points welded on as well. The carseat will rest on this metal plate and using the built in clip anchors on the seat, attach firmly to the plate. This plate may or may not be angled to better suite the preferred orientation of the child relative to the puller of the cart.

Engineering Analysis 1

This force analysis shows us how much force the strap connecting the harness will need to withstand while being used. This will help us determine what strap we will use to connect the harness and walker to make sure the strap will not break.  

Engineering Analysis 2

After Calculating the total weight of the walker, we decided to model the system as a simply supported beam with unequal overhangs to solve a deflection analysis. This showed us roughly how much the person or kickstand will support as well as the wheel.

Engineering Analysis 3

Our third engineering analysis was calculating the lengths for the handles that were installed on the traveler. We measured the father’s stride and made sure that the lengths would allow him to have a comfortable stride, as well as a comfortable position while holding the traveler in an upright position.

CAD Drawings

Document Fabrication Process

For the fabrication process we started by assembling the base parts of the QuietKat cargo trailer. We then mounted the car seat to the traveler with the included strap for the car seat, by mounting two eye-bolts for the strap to click into. After that we added saddle bags for extra storage and a crate to carry Andrew’s needed ventilator close to him. The last and most time consuming part of the fabrication was welding the handles on, so that they can be removed with ease by pins. This was necessary so that the family can easily transport the traveler with them.

Finally after all the sandblasting and welding was done to the traveler we painted the handles and added foam grips to the handles. Also as a last minute addition for the family, we decided to add an umbrella holder to keep Andrew out of the sun on his adventures.

Testing Results

After receiving our material, we began a rough assembly of our parts. We realized that some of the measurements online were incorrect which worked in our favor. Initially we expected the car seat to need to rest on top of the luggage compartment of the traveler but were pleased to find it fit perfectly inside. After seating the carseat, we analyzed options on fitting the seat to the traveler and decided on using the preexisting  hardware of the carseat and some I bolts. The next major testing came after we had welded our handles together. We did not factor the closeness of the 90 degree angle of the handlebars in relation to the user’s legs. After testing, we decided this to be a major issue. We cut the handlebar structure and converted it to a 45 degree angle which provided plenty of space. Once we finished assembling the traveler, we took it outside and pulled it over different sized curbs to simulate roots and uneven terrain. The traveler passed all of our testing and was ready for Dr. Canfield’s approval. 

Completed Design Photos

Instructions for Safe Use

This traveler has had a risk assessment applied to it and the following items are suggested and/or noted to the user. 


This outdoor traveler does not protect the occupant against, but not limited to: 

  • Falling objects 
  • Rollovers 
  • Tree branches 
  • Vibration Fatigue 
  • Noise Fatigue 


Suggested user guidelines: 

  • Avoid steep inclines 
  • Avoid low hanging branches 
  • Keep handlebars dry during use 
  • Wear harness at all times 
  • Travel vertically across inclines, not horizontally 
  • Keep two hands on handlebars at all times 
  • Firmly secure carseat before use 

Project Summary/Reflection

For this project, our group was tasked with developing an outdoor traveler to pull a mobility disabled child around the family’s farm and local outdoor areas. After brainstorming multiple designs, we selected the best option. By utilizing a preexisting  trailer, we were able to expedite the design and manufacturing process. After analyzing multiple sources for reliable and cost effective options, we ordered our necessary materials. Our traveler was fabricated in the ME shop in Brown hall including cutting, polishing, welding, and painting our material before assembling. After some assembly, we decided to change our handlebar layout. To complete this adjustment, we cut some of our “margin” material and reshaped the handlebar layout. We completed the assembly of the traveler, gathered approval from Dr. Canfield and delivered the final product to the family the following day. 



2024 Spring