The Reserve, A wheelchair mounted Tennis ball feeder
November 28, 2015 in Post
We have designed a product called the reserve to allow wheelchair bound people access to backup tennis balls during their tennis game without having to call for outside help having to reach down into awkward positions. This product was designed to help the game flow smoother and to allow the players to continue with their game without having to stop for longer periods of time just to restock on balls.
The reserve in its basic form is essentially a hollow polymer tube with enough space for 4 balls to be held with a little space at the top, underneath the balls is a disk with a spring mechanism to push the balls up towards the top of the tube where a catch switch is located to stop the balls from escaping. On the side there is slot that allows the player to see how many balls are left inside the reserve and plan accordingly. The spring mechanism is equipped with a small handle on the side to allow the player to pull back the spring and allow the player to restock the product without difficulty.
The clips on the side of the reserve are fully adjustable to allow it to clip onto many different kinds of wheelchair without any problems because we realise that there are many different varieties of wheelchairs that are available to people to use. When the reserve is clipped on it is firmly gripped in place and will not move. It can however be moved side to side by the played to be placed somewhere to be accessed easier to each particular player depending on their preferences.
On top of the reserve there is a catch switch that prevents the balls from escaping the tube while the product is in use. To allow the player to access one of the balls inside, he or she must simply press on the release switch with a thumb or finger and it will push it back and out of the way temporarily for enough time to allow the spring mechanism underneath the balls to push one of them into the housing unit above. the player can then let go of the switch and it will return to its original position and lock the remaining balls inside the tube.
One of the main reasons that chose this particular area to design for was that we noticed a distinct lack of existing products that dealt with the problem. from primary and secondary research we noticed that many players just held the ball around their person and about 70% of them simply stuck their spare balls in the spokes of their wheelchair. not only could this damage the balls but it could possible impair their ability to play or damage the wheel itself. This is why we designed the reserve to allow players access to their spare balls without problems or damage to player or equipment.