UBCO students design prototype for alternative shopping cart

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UBCO students design prototype for alternative shopping cart
UBCO students design prototype for alternative shopping cart – Oct 26, 2016

For people who are homeless and rolling all their possessions in a shopping cart, constantly keeping their belongings safe can stop them from doing things that may improve their life.

That’s the problem UBC Okanagan students and their instructors have been trying to solve as they design a better alternative to the shopping cart.

That project has hit a new milestone with the creation of miniature prototype carts.

The initial idea came from a local church that is involved in street outreach. Students have been narrowing down the final design based on feedback from stakeholders including: police, the City of Kelowna and members of the local homeless community.

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“Something we thought initially would be really cool was if we were able to integrate some sort of bed into this cart so that people could fold it open and sleep on it,” said engineering student Tyler Ho.

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“RCMP came and told us that wasn’t a good idea just because people aren’t allowed to sleep in public.”

The design they’ve settled on is made of fiberglass, making it lighter than a metal cart. It also has a rounded top to prevent hording and can be taken apart for easier transport.

“It’s an enclosed structure unlike a shopping cart so it is much easier for people to store things in and let them be protected from the elements, from theft,” said lab manager Bryn Crawford.

The central aim is to make a cart that will be more secure so homeless people can focus on other things, instead of constantly worrying about their belongings.

“There might be appointments available to them and steps to take to move into that housing but because they are only having to live in five minute intervals to make sure their belongings have that security always, they are not able to go to those appointments,” said Crawford.

They are still fine-tuning this design.

The aim is to have four prototypes ready to be trialed by members of Kelowna’s street population next June.

The designers expect each cart to cost around $1,500. The trial carts are being paid for by donations.


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