Campus: San Josť State University -- March 24, 2000

SJSU's Rough-Terrain Wheelchair Design Takes Grand Prize in Regional Competition

The Grasshopper, a wheelchair designed for use on "off-road" terrain, earned a grand prize for a team of senior San Josť State University manufacturing systems students in the Society of Manufacturing Engineer's "Manufacturing Challenge Competition, " held this month at WESTEC 2000 in Los Angeles.

The Grasshopper, created and manufactured entirely by the students, is designed to provide better access to public parks and pathways for wheelchair users and thus enhance the lives of disabled persons.

The wheelchair incorporates many innovations, according to technology professor and project advisor Seth Bates. "Based on a completely original frame design, it incorporates lightweight aircraft aluminum components, precision-machined swingarms and a fully independent rear suspension," he says. The chair also features advanced technologies used in off-road bicycles and therapeutic seating.

A total of 16 colleges and universities, including the University of Arizona, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, competed for the SME grand prize, which includes a cash award of $2500. Pictures of the Grasshopper and the student team will be available at after March 25.

Listed below are the members of the winning team and their hometowns:

Student Name

Home Town

Kevin Coelho

Carlos Mena

Steve Medina

Oraldo Bugarin

Michelle Pignotti

Steve Bush

John van den Broeck

Jerrod Grant

Kevin Burke

Saul Santos

Steven Derpich

Ranier Betelia

Alan Cantey

Ed Beckwell

Dave McDowell

Luis Rivera

San Josť


San Josť

San Josť

San Josť


Santa Cruz

San Josť

Scotts Valley



San Josť

Santa Clara

San Josť

Los Gatos

Mountain View

Faculty Advisor & Professor

Seth Bates


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