Raised in New Zealand, I have always
maintained an interest in the arts.
At a young age I participated in a
young artists programme, from here I
moved on to become passionate about
photography. Over the next few years
this passion took me all over New
Zealand and abroad searching for new
and better locations. At high school
I began working in Design where I
designed a sustainable beach house
perched upon the cliffs at my families
property on New Zealand’s west coast.
The next couple of years led me to
delve into Industrial Design which I
immediately took to. At the same time
my enthusiasm for long exposure light
painting grew, this project turned in to
one of my proudest. .
Everywhere I look, I see good and bad
design; this drives me to want to design
better products. My design philosophy
is to create objects that people enjoy,
while being as environmentally and
ethically friendly as possible.
This project was completed for an RMIT
University studio called Design for
Ability. The studio looks at responding
to industry requirements for a caravan
that caters to a growing disabled
As a method of responding to this
challenge the studio focussed on
using computer design techniques to
present the design ideas. With CAD as
a standard industry tool we went a step
further and explored the applications of
virtual reality in industrial design.
Upon entering the course my focus was
to enhance my skills in CAD which after
man many hours practising I feel I have
done so. This process has meant that
I am now in a position where I could
produce CAD models of most designs in
my future projects.
This project has also taught me huge
amounts about project management
and allocation of time and resources.
Design For Ability
This Studio is about a design challenge
to create a next generation concept
caravan for disabled users. The goal
is to develop this model in 3D Digital
modelling and then prepare a Virtual
Reality prototype for presentation.
The studio required an in depth
research and analysis into wheelchair
ergonomics, functionality and
general characteristics. The research
demanded an engaging and empathetic
immersion into what it is like, living with
From this point a radical concept was
proposed and then developed to meet
industry level expectations.
We have been further challenged
with a secondary agenda to feature
modular design elements that can
be constructed, modified and be
reconfigured as needs arise and
updated as technology allows.
To gain a first person experience of
what it is like to use a wheelchair in the
real world, some fellow designers and
I headed out into the city to see what
day to day life is like from the seat of a
We came to realise that the way we
have designed our world acts as a
constant reminder to a disabled per-
sons disadvantage. Simple tasks are
never simple. At the NGV their stan-
dard elevator was broken, meaning we
had to use the freight elevator, requir-
ing security to escort us throughout the
gallery. There was a constant feeling of
dehumanisation from the way people
treated us, to the clinical and industrial
feel of disability services.
The experience taught me much about
the functionality of a wheelchair but
most importantly, it provided me with
the incentive and desire to try and
enable people with disabilities to get
outdoors and push boundaries in-
stead of staying constrained by their
wheelchairs. An example of this is
Bob Coomber, from California, USA
who has attempted numerous times
to cross the Sierra Nevada mountain
range. With a specially designed car-
avan, Coomber’s adventures could be
much more achievable.
Small irregularities in the ground that are
commonly overlooked in day-to-day life
as well as the design process can be-
come testing obstacles.
Wheelchairs require large turning areas
which can become an issue in tighter,
more dynamic environments.
The issue of accessable height and usable
space is accentuated from the wheelchair
Being in a wheelchair often results in
special treatment. This can be dehuman-
izing, leaving disabled persons feeling like
second class citizens
For disabled people in wheelchairs, life op-
erates at a different level to everyone else.
Small tasks like reaching for a tram but-
ton or light switch are more complicated.
Maneuverability is also vastly reduced in
tighter spaces, making busy trams or small
caravans difficult and awkward.
Disabled adventure sport is becoming
Disability is a very confronting and dif-
ficult obstacle in a persons life, creat-
ing or maintaining an active pursuit of
adventurous or even active sports can
be difficult. It requires significant moti-
vation due to the raft of difficulties that
come with being in a wheelchair. Thus,
Intrepid aims to alleviate this and aid ad-
venturers or aspiring adventurers to get
outdoors and participate in the sports
that they are entitled to try. In terms of
ergonomics, the caravan is a complex
space as it is very vertically orientated.
Entering the caravan and maneuvering
inside is a trying task in itself.
lntrepid is targeted towards all disabled
adventurers, young and old, however,
demographically middle aged middle
class customers are the largest type of
clients of caravans in Australia.
Living in a space designed for a different
elevation comes with a raft of issues.
Despite the more obvious issues of
line-of-sight, problems also arise with
lighting glare. Seemingly minimal design
decisions can be a constant hindrance to
The Intrepid series for Jayco caravans is
to be the beginning of specialised cara-
vans that allow disabled adventurers to
access the outdoors and engage in, the
sports they love, with the people they
Intrepid aims to provide the most effec-
tive and enjoyable living experience in-
side and outside the caravan.
It is the Intrepid belief that features to
aid disabled users should be subtle and
understated, yet innovative and efficient.
Intrepid strives to embody the pursuit of
adventure, and facilitate the endeavors
of those that are physically disadvan-
taged yet uphold an Intrepid spirit.
PERSONAS & SCENARIOS OF USE
Morris was diagnosed in his earlier
twenties with MAMA which is a disease
that progressively removed the use of
his legs. At a young age Morris was
always active and outdoors. After his
incident he developed an interest in
Using customised wheelchairs, Morris
is able to go hiking and downhill
mountain biking. Because of this, he
takes three wheelchairs with him; one
also for indoors and general use.
Photography: While sport is his priority,
Morris has always liked photography as
it is a wheelchair friendly activity.
Skiing: Morris has become an
accomplished skier in indoor snow
Morris’ important work position means
he requires a space to work, even when
In total, Morris normally takes his
hiking chair, MTB chair and normal
multipurpose chair with him on holiday.
Harry Gill has been disabled since birth
but is otherwise fit and strong and loves
the thrill and adrenalin of adventure
sport. He is determined to give his son;
Ryan, a shot at the childhood he wished
he lived. Without a caravan their family
holidays are a financial and logistical
difficulty. Harry’s wife; Linda, enjoys the
trips but prefers to relax in the caravan.
During work days, Harry is very busy so
he hugely values this time outdoors with
his son and wife.
Ryan and Harry often read and play
games when inside... Extra surface
space is needed for this. These spaces
would also be used for sorting and
fixing outdoor gear.
30 y/o | Environmental Engineer.
46 y/o | Founder of Home Building
Intrepid Scenario of Use
lntrepid is designed for short to mid-
length adventures (2-7 days) with up to
4 people on board. The sleeping arrang-
ments allow for both friends or family
lntrepid is designed to accomodate all
adventure sport activities, however, it
specialises in kayaking, hiking, moun-
tain biking and snow sports. The inte-
rior and exterior has been designed to
facilitate these activities. Although in
adventure sport external conditions can
prevent activity, thus the caravan is de-
signed to accomodate days inside with
extra surface area for photography and
The caravan is capable of navigating
rough terrain and snow/desert condi-
BENCH MARKING & PACKAGING
With Jayco dominating the Australian
caravan market, what competition
will they face in the disabled caravan
A variety of different companies mod-
ify caravans to suite wheelchair us-
ers, however, the following compa-
nies produce specialised wheelchair
In addition these companies all cre-
ate very generic designs intended for
tame environments. Jayco’s Intrepid
will find its niche here, in adventur-
ous and capable, wheelchair-freindly
Proportional top view of a
Occupant - Environment Relationship
Caravan’s are compact, vertically orientated spaces that are not conducive
for effective wheelchair living. Despite this, there are adaptations to cur-
rent dimensions and standards that will make standard caravans designs
To gain a rough understanding of how a wheelchair moves within a cara-
van I dimensioned the blue prints in Photoshop to proportionally match a
wheel chair (the blue rectangles) using the dimensions below.
Only maneuverable space for
Slide-out space doesn’t provide
Entirely unreachable space by standard
wheelchairs. Entrance not wide
enough to admit wheel-
Jayco Silverline blueprint sourced from http://www.jayco.com.au/range/caravans/silverline/
Testing a wheelchair in a scale ‘caravan’
^ Two tiered bed configuration
facilitates 3 people.
< Sketch showing ladder
access to second bed and
fold down-and-out desk.
Bathroom has a fluid single surface floor,
with a lip at the entrance to stop water
spillage. This allows unobstructed
movement within the space.
Aircraft style lockers lower the
shelves to a more accessable
height for wheelchair and able
> Latch on base of
> Hanging handles allow WC
users to easily maneuvre
themselves into the bed.
< Bedside space contains the
wheelchair when not in use.
^ Fold-out tables allow for
able and disabled use in a
variety of configurations.
Under seat storage
Developing Design Elements
lntrepid is designed for short to mid-length adven-
tures (2-7 days) and therefore requires all the attri-
butes that the user may use in that time. In addition,
due to the nature of the caravan, there is a strong
chance that the caravan is required to be self con-
tained and even self powered. These sketches inllus-
trate this as well as other design featues.
^ Aerodynamic design lowers fuel costs
^ Solar panels are slanted to prevent
snow, dust or water buildup. The angle
also maximises sun reception.
The awning has double the amount of structural
support to withstand strong winds.
> Entrance lift mechanism is subtly placed in
the caravan rather than outside.
< Rooftop wind turbine can be
raised from within the caravan,
> Rail system around the cara-
van perimeter allows easy
disabled access outside.
> Lowerable roof rack/workbench
provides a WC friendly platform for
outdoor gear maintenance and storage.
The initial concept proposal for Intrepid
was created from the sketches shown
previously. The concept was essentially
an adaption of existing Jayco designs to
a wheelchair and outdoor sport context.
The design allows for easy wheelchair
maneuvrability due to the wide passage
way. A pnuematic floor lowering system
means that there was a fluid transition
between indoors and outdoors.
Lowerable airplane style lockers allow
WC users to access higher storage
A single bunk bed increases the
capacity of the caravan, facilitating a
child or friend on the journey.
Fold out desks expand the surface
space of the caravan for gear
preparation or other leisure.
A single kitchen table seat allows the
WC user to seamlessly slip in to use the
5000 (Interior Length)
6200 (Travel Length)
Aesthetic inspiration for the design.
MID SEMESTER PROPOSAL
Developing Design Elements
The proposed floor plan is based off my other floor plan concepts. I felt this esign
maximised available space in a dynamic way while maintaining a disability friendly
Radicalisation of Design
After a previously bland design proposal I sat down to envision a very radical concep-
tual caravan. My vision was of an autonomous large wheeled vehicle that was capable
of operating off the grid. This exercise was intended to inspire my design development.
The CAD process was a steep
learning curve for me. starting
with the sculpted exterior
I began forming the basic
internal blocks of the design.
From there I developed the
chasis, after which I had a
solid ‘foundation’ to begin
detailing the internals of the
caravan. After this point I
began detailing and editing
where I saw fit, with the most
notable change being to the
windows and the addition of
the solar panel indent.
The caravan is made up of individual bodies categorised in components for both organisation and to allow for the joints which
can be seen in the image below (blue joint symbols).
The walls of the caravan are curved which ads difficulty to the interior cabinetry. This meant that each body created that
intersected with the wall required combine cuts to remove the material. This process worked effectively but limited my ability
for editing the surfaces further down the track.
Late in the CAD process I learnt that the
VR software; the Unreal Engine, does
not allow for material applications to
surfaces on bodies. Thus my exterior
and interior walls would be the same.
This lead to a complex process of
creating a secondary interior wall which
proved extremely difficult due to the
complexity of the form.
Due to the addition of suspension and
the rear rack and ramp many features
and alterations where made to the
chasis to ensure the caravan had a solid
The bottom left image shows the
shower floow which is a flat platform
with gaps for water to run through and
then drain away in a sink below the
floor. This design, also visible in the
bottom right, means that a wheelchair
can be used easily in the washcloset.
The front bed fram had to be positioned
correctly so as to not collide with any
internal features. The front wall extends
out making the bed 2/3rds longer.
These functions were created using as
INTREPIDEnabling the next generation of disabled adventurers.
CARAVAN VISUALISATION EXTERIOR
CARAVAN VISUALISATION EXTERIOR
Intrepid’s twin axle suspension, sleek design and aerodynamic sportinge-quipment rack
ensures that driving is efficient and swift.This mobile unit is self reliant for the running of its
appliances such as the induction stove, fridge and lighting. These are powered by both solar
The extendable rear rack allows for easy storage of bicycles, canoes, moped and
other large equipment. With the moving number plate and lights; the system requires
very little set-up.
CARAVAN REAR RACK
Pnuematically powered extendable
ramp allows for wheel chair access
through the sliding back door.
CARAVAN VISUALISATION REAR
A wind turbine on a telescopic pole can be
mechanically raised 4.5 metres to generate
electricity for the caravan’s appliances.
CARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIOR
The bathroom door way has only a
small lip to stop water leakage but
otherwise has no change in surface
gradient due to the ‘grill’ style shower
drain. To allow for disabled persons
to shower, there are rails on all walls
to assist maneuvrability, in addition
there is a fold down seat which can
be used in place of the wheelchair. To
make washing easier there is both a set
shower head and a movable hose head.
The interior of the Intrepid caravan
is quite a dynamic design with still a
very vertically orientated space. The
single bunk bed is essentially unusable
to a wheelchair user. However,
lowerable lockers hand rails and wide
amnueverable passageways mean the
the majority of the space is available for
effective use by wheelchair users.
CARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIORCARAVAN VISUALISATION INTERIOR
To migrate the 3D CAD Models that I created in Fusion 360 into the VR platform the models had to be exported using .obj files to import into
the Unreal Engine for materialisation. The materialisation process proved cahllenging as many of the materials and textures did not perform
correctly. After substantial trouble shooting, a solution was reached; importing .step files, exported from Fusion A360 drive into Rhinocerous
to convert into a workable .fbx that allows free and correct material application. This process was successful and I was able to complete the
materialisation of the Intrepid conceptual caravan. After this I mocked up a quick 3D environent using the landscape sculpt tools in Unreal in
conbination with Epic Games stock features to add detail.
CAD TO VR
At the start of the research
component of this project I became
quite comfronted by the first person
experience we did in wheelchairs. The
public in Melbourne city presented
mixed reactions that in some cases
were rude and others overly kind. This
experience taught me the weight of
stigmatization on wheelchairs and
disability in Australian culture. From
this point I became determined to
design with subtlety, removing the
clinical and sterile nature of disabled
design. I wanted to make a product that
suited their needs but didn’t highlight
The research component was quite
long and I found myself struggling to
maintain perspective. In retrospect I am
frustrated with my management of time
and attention, as this ramified through
The design component started with me looking at the design possibilities very pragmatically, without any radicalism or innovation. After our
initial concept proposal I rethought my design direction and started to approach the design process differently. For too long I refrained from
getting stuck in to the design process. In future I intend this to be a constant throughout the research, design and modelling stages. Once
I started looking at the design of the Caravan differently I started to approach a design that I believed suited my brief. However, the jump
from this stage to CAD Modelling threw me. Being relatively new to CAD and completely inexperienced in Fusion 360, I spent precious time
learning the software. With time running out I wa able to begin forulating my design. As I didn’t have a solid design at the outset, there was
significant modifications to the design during this CAD process. In the end I was pleased with the model however It lacked interior detail. In
addition, I was disappointed as there were some features I was unable to include due to my lack of expertise.
When it came to rendering I enjoyed the process, despite frustrating software issues as well as the loss of my entire CAD animation.
Despite the obstacles I am proud of what I have learnt in CAD, rendering and VR. While I have huge amounts to learn, I feel I have a strong
foundation and renewed motivation to progress further in computer aided design. t stuck in CAD and stopped designing. v
Intrepid roof-top solar
panel configuration with
wind turbine port on the
lower right-hand side.
Extend-able rear rack
holds outdoor equipment
such as mountain
bikes, ski’s, off-road
wheelchairs and mobility