Off-Road Pediatric Walker

One of our incredibly talented senior design team completing the Off-Road Pediatric Walker in December 2020. Despite many setbacks and challenges during a pandemic, the team designed, manufactured and tested the new walker add-ons to improve off-road mobility without compromising safety or usability.

To improve the user’s mobility, the team designed and manufactured interchangeable wheel hubs that can be easily installable on R82’s Crocodile walker.  These hubs interface with wheel extensions that allow the walker to be quickly adapted to specific terrain.  Additionally, the team replaced the Crocodile’s front casters with casters designed to house a larger, pneumatic wheel.

To ensure the user’s safety, the hub has an integrated braking and anti-rollback system that can be engaged by the user.  Additionally, all the hub components can support the weight of any Crocodile user.

The team also designed and manufactured a lightweight hammock seat that is easily installable on the Crocodile.  The seat does not interfere with the user’s experience when not in use, but can be easily engaged to comfortably support the user.

Grace, an active seven-year-old who loves playing soccer, has been using the team’s add-ons on her Crocodile walker.  According to Grace’s father, the walker’s improved mobility will not only help her on the soccer field but will also allow her to participate in a variety of new outdoor activities.

Student Team Members: Chad Andersen, Morgan Barron, Reid Gardner, Jordy Osborne, Arthur Steur, and Rulon Stitzer

Dorien Butter ASB 2020 Presentation

Despite decades of research into patient falls, falls and the injuries incurred continue to be a serious threat to patient safety. Fall rates continue to be unacceptably high. The purpose of this project is to increase the safety of a hospital room for patient mobility through patient-centric design.

This survey is a starting point to understanding and quantifying the effect object characteristics have on a patient’s safety and stability when used for support. Based on the results of the survey, the next step of my research is to quantify the relationship between height, resistance to movement, and type of grasp and how those three characteristics work together to provide stability to a frail individual. This will be done in a laboratory setting using motion capture.

Here is a 3-minute supplemental video explaining the results of the survey.

Do you think you qualify to take the survey? Read the consent document here, and follow this link to the survey:


Merryweather and TetraSki Featured in University of Utah Magazine-Winter 2020

“It’s such an honor to work with visionary people like Dr. Jeffrey Rosenbluth. Through his forward thinking, nothing is impossible attitude and the hard work and creativity of many student engineers, we can realize the impossible. Thanks to all those who dedicate countless hours and efforts to developing technologies unmatched anywhere in the world.” – Dr. Andrew Merryweather


Welcome Visiting Student

Thomas Starzinger is a medical engineering student from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. His supervisor from his home university is Prof. PD Dr. Thomas Haslwanter. He will be participating in the TetraSki project for the next 4 months. His primary focus is to develop additional safety features for the TetraSki.  The project will involve designing a roll over protection and improved seating system to allow skiers to safely push the technology to new limits. 

We are looking forward to working with Thomas over the next four months and welcome him to the Ergonomics and Safety Lab!

E&S PADS Featured

The PADS (Portable Accessible Dock System) is highlighted in the Student Innovation at the U 2018, 11 Ways Students are Creating the Future…and How You Can Too.  This publication is produced by the University of Utah‘s Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

The PADS was developed by Ergonomics & Safety Program graduate student Nicholas Brown (MSME 2018) and Prof. Andrew S. Merryweather in conjunction with Dr. Jeffrey P. Rosenbluth, Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Acute Rehabilitation Program at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center.

PADS is also discussed in the E&S Program’s Enabling Technology page.


NORA 2019

The University of Utah’s Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (RMCOEH) and Department of Mechanical Engineering will be holding the 17th Annual Regional National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Young/New Investigators Symposium.  

The goal of this conference is to assemble interested students (undergraduate and graduate) and young/new investigators from the region, as well as other interested parties, in a forum where NORA-related research can be presented and discussed in a non-threatening atmosphere. It is expected that, for many of the students who choose to present, it will be the first formal presentation of their research.

The NORA 2019 Conference will be held at the Officer’s Club 150 Fort Douglas Blvd, Salt Lake City, UT 84113 on April 18th & 19th.  Please visit the NORA 2019 website for the latest information.

There will be two special presentations this year at NORA.  The Opening Keynote Speaker is Sarah A. Felknor, DrPH.  Her talk is entitled Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health and will start at 8:30 AM on April 18th.

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Dr. Felknor

At 8:30 AM on April 19th, the Dr. Paul S. Richards Endowed Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in Occupational Medicine will present Donald C. Sinclair, II, J.D., who will speak on The Role of the Epidemiological and Exposure Sciences in the Resolution of Medicolegal Disputes.

Mr. Sinclair, Esq.

The Richards Lecture is FREE and open to the public, however, registration is required. To register for this lecture ONLY, register for attendance with the “Richards Lecture Only” option at the NORA 2019 website.

Moriah Henning at Research on Capitol Hill

Undergraduate researcher Moriah Henning was selected to present her work at the 19th Annual Research on Capitol Hill event on March 5th 2019. Moriah completed two semesters of research under Dr. Andrew Merryweather on characterizing the open-source, 3D-printed, InMoov robotic hand as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). She analyzed the hand’s limitations and abilities through computer and physical testing to better understand improvements that could be made to the design.

U student researchers head to Capitol Hill

Moriah Henning at the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research

Moriah Henning, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, presented a poster at the Utah Conference for Undergraduate Research (UCUR) at Weber State on Friday, February 22nd. The conference is modeled after the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and invites undergraduates from all disciplines to apply. It provides a great opportunity for undergraduates to share their work in a scholarly setting to other students, faculty, and community members from all over Utah.

Moriah completed two semesters of research under Dr. Andrew Merryweather on characterizing the open-source, 3D-printed, InMoov robotic hand as part of the the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). She analyzed the hand’s limitations and abilities through computer and physical testing to better understand improvements that could be made to the design. Presenting at UCUR gave her the opportunity to meet other undergraduate students doing research and to share her own research outside the lab.

Rooftop-Fall Protection

The U Capstone Rooftop-Fall Protection Team.
(From left to right: Kyle Somer, Gary Hsu, Zachary Zwahlen, Clancy Van Dyke, Hunter Bernstein, and Aimee Morgan.
Not pictured are Michel Goulet, Jeremiah Wangsgard, and Ken d’Entremont.)

Prof. Ken d’Entremont of the Ergonomics & Safety Program is advisor to a team of U Capstone students who are seeking to improve the safety of rooftop workers.  This is a group of six undergraduate Mechanical-Engineering students at the University of Utah.  As part of the U Capstone Program, these students participate in a two-semester course sequence in which they apply the design, analysis, and testing skills that they learned in their earlier courses.  Their aim is to design and test a simple and practical system for those people working on residential structures.  Although laws already exist that require fall-protection devices or systems for many rooftop workers, cost or inconvenience may keep employers and workers from using fall protection.

The team and their advisor are each grateful to Mr. Michel Goulet and Mr. Jeremiah Wangsgard of Petzl America for their technical support of this project.  Indeed, it was their concern for the safety of workers performing their jobs at elevation that was the genesis of this U Capstone Project.  They have taken the time to meet with the team at their training facility in Salt Lake City at several key points in the design and development stages of the project.  The project is now entering the testing stage and headed for completion at the end of the Spring Semester.

Construction workers and others at high risk of fall injury include roofers, solar-panel installers, satellite-dish installers, and wind-turbine technicians.  Yahoo! Finance recently showed a graphic of the fastest-growing job in each state.  Out of 50 states, thirteen had fastest-growing jobs that have high fall risks.

Each year, falls from elevation account for almost 39% of the almost 1000 construction-related deaths each year.  Rooftop falls make up 31% of all fall fatalities with the remainder distributed among falls from ladders, scaffolding, or other hazards.  Those working for small construction firms (fewer than 10 employees) make up over 60% of fall-related fatalities.  Hispanic workers are at an even-higher risk of deaths due to construction fall injuries.  (These numbers do not include slips, trips, and falls onto the same elevation.)

Mr. Amir Yazdani (Ph.D. 2019) Presents at the 7th CDC/NIOSH NOIRS (National Occupational Injury Research Symposium), Morgantown, WV

The 7th National Occupational Injury Research Symposium – NOIRS – was held October 16-18, 2018 in Morgantown, WV.

NOIRS is the only national forum focused on the presentation of occupational injury research. The Symposium brings together researchers, academicians, labor union representatives, safety professionals, industry leaders, and students from multiple disciplines and fields to advance the public health mission of keep workers safe. This year’s theme was: Advancing Worker Safety in the 21st Century Through Research and Practice.