college of engineering white

Project 5b: Sensory Bed B


The purpose of this project is to build a sensory bed for a 20-month-old child with ASD. We have to make enough padding so the child can rock around without harming himself. We also have been asked to include brown noise and lights to help soothe the child if he wakes up .

Left to Right: Reed Couk, Lucas Kidd, Jack Stepanek, Jack Cunningham

Problem Statement

He has been diagnosed with ASD. Night time is incredibly difficult for the family. He wakes up several times and when he does, he rocks and bangs his head on the back of his crib to go back sleep. He hits his head so hard, it sometimes leaves bruises and Mom is constantly worried. She has tried many conventional things that you can buy, but nothing works.

Design Specifications

  • Stationary
  • Padding on the inside for the child
  • Padding on the outside for the wall
  • Steering wheel with lights for the child
  • Low to ground
  • Can support child rocking
  • Wheels outside for the child to play with
  • Twin bed
  • Enclosed on all four sides

Background Research

The kid from our project has been diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), so the first step in our project was researching ASD.  The symptoms of ASD are very broad, but include impulsivity, repetitive movement, self-harm, sensitivity to sound.  In the problem statement given to us the mother stated that the brown noise would help with his sensitivity to sound.  She also said that her child suffers from repetitive movement while sleeping which has lead to self harm, so she has requested soft padding along the sides of the bed.  Upon meeting with the mother and developmental therapist, we received more information about Sutton’s needs.  For example, it was important for it to be stationary and the railing was important because he needed that rocking motion.  She also told us about his fixation with monster trucks and wheels, so we decided to create a monster truck bed frame with wheels attached and some sort of steering wheel he could use to control sensory input.

Concept Design 1

This concept design is supposed to replicate a monster truck. This design was requested by the mother because her son loves trucks. She requested a monster truck build and she wanted wheels on the outside that could spin. The bed still has to be low to the ground and enclosed on all four sides.

Concept Design 2

This design consists of a padded twin size bed (dimensions shown) with a padded steering wheel at the feet of the bed. The outside consists of a monster truck design made of plywood. There will be wheels approximately 2 inches above the ground that our child will be able to spin to add to the sensory effects. This will help the child because it will be safer and it will help him sleep at night with the added sensory details.

Concept Design 3

Concept design 3 is made to be a practical design for a bedframe fit to prevent him from banging his head from the padding included, however it doesn’t have the monster-truck frame he wanted we would add a decal to the frame and potentially add wheels and a brown noise machine to help with his sensory issues.

Selected Concept Design

We selected concept design 1 as our final decision. We decided this based on the decision matrix and the customer’s preference. The first design was on par with the criteria of the project and it met all safety and cost needs. We will continue from here with this as our design and will add on accordingly.

Decision Matrix

Overview of Selected Design

The selected design is supposed to resemble a monster truck. The child loves trucks and we are hoping to make his day with his very own monster truck bed. The bed has to stay low to the ground and be enclosed on all four sides. The mother still wants to pick the child up out of the crib so we will have to make sure it is shallow enough for that to happen, but tall enough for him to not climb out. We will include wheels that spin on the outside to accommodate the child’s sensory needs, as well as a steering wheel with lights to soothe him if he wakes up. Overall we are trying to create the experience of a monster truck with the safety necessary for his sensory needs.

Describe Design Details

Wooden Truck Frame-

            The frame will come with its own set of challenges. One will be cutting the wood into the shape of a monster truck. We are thinking of buying an existing frame and modifying it to look more like our design. The other approach is to build a frame from scratch. Another will be finding and placing the monster truck decal.

Two Moving Wheels-

            The moving wheels is another aspect the family was very excited about. They should not be too expensive or difficult. Just a simple wheel and axle. This part will need to be more aesthetically pleasing. That will mean we will have to really search for what the child likes.

Monster Truck Decals-

            The monster truck decals will be difficult to incorporate into the design, but they will be inexpensive and simple to install. The real challenge here is creating a framework that will resemble a truck. Then the decals should be simple.

Inside Cushioning-

            The inner cushioning is very important aspect of the bed. It will protect the child from hitting his head against anything while rocking. These were a priority concern for the family because the child tends to rock constantly. The goal of this aspect is to keep the child safe and secure.

Twin Mattress-

            A twin mattress was requested by the family due to the child growing quickly. This will present many challenges for the team due to the size difference. It will also most likely create a higher cost due to the material needing a larger frame. We are going to address this problem by buying a frame outright, then modifying it to specification.

Engineering Analysis 1

For this analysis, we looked at the force from the child pushing on the walls of the crib. This helps us understand the bending moment we will be receiving on the legs of the crib.

Engineering Analysis 3

We conducted this analysis by applying distributed forces on all of the interior walls of the crib along with the base of it. We did this in order to see how the child’s weight and his pushing against the walls will affect the integrity of the crib.

Bill of Materials


2023 Spring