Student designing his own solutions to new challenges
Mark Cooper is a person who gets on with things.
Mark was a shepherd and began coming up with ways which would allow him to still use a ute.
He needed a hoist to get his electric wheelchair into the restricted space in the back, but could find nothing available which met his needs, so he made his own device.
He designed and built a large arm which lifts his chair neatly into the back cabin, just above where the sheepdogs fit.
Mark faced another issue with the ute, however.
He needed to be able to easily access the vehicle cab when he left his chair, but most off-the-shelf solutions required extensive modifications to the ute, which he wanted to avoid.
With the help of an engineering firm in Nelson, he solved that problem too. He came up with another design utilising a support platform which fits into the seat frame, allowing him to get in and out of the driver’s seat.
But he didn’t stop at the ute.
Mark has designed a wheelchair hoist for his jetboat too.
With no engineering background he has gone through a process of trial and error, with some help from the professionals.
Mark is hoping to move into a rural valuation, rural banking or consultancy role when he finishes his studies, though his hoists suggest a future in design.
He is doing engineering
as part of his degree, but has no special projects lined up, and does not see any commercial potential in the things he has made so far.
They were all made to meet specific needs.
However, if those needs change, or he has new ones and can’t find anything that meets them, who knows what else he might come up with?