Product Design Engineering School of Design

Anna Kennedy

Anna Kennedy

Anna Kennedy

Power Mount is an automated, self-adjustable wheelchair headrest. It enables users, who are otherwise unable, to achieve their ideal head position themselves. Commonly people who are prescribed a headrest have symptoms such as stiff muscles, involuntary movements and impaired speech. Design of current headrests require manual adjustments made by a carer. If a user is unable to communicate due to their condition, this can result in them sitting in discomfort.


Power Mount offers four adjustments, two rotational and two linear.

My development process focused on the design of the rotational and linear mechanisms. Initial concepts were evaluated for safety, size and limited degrees of freedom (i.e. only those of interest). Calculations were carried out to ensure the mechanisms could support the worst case loading scenarios, e.g. a user fully reclined with the weight of their head against the side of the headrest. The outer body, made from 6061 aluminium, was designed to ensure it protected the internal components if the wheelchair were to tip over


Throughout the process there was a focus on human factors. User trials were run to calculate the range of movement required and the time needed to complete these full ranges, to suit users needs.

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