The project client wanted to use her elliptical exercise machine in her home with complete comfort and ease. She had difficulty reaching the handles of the machine and needed to feel more comfortable while using the elliptical.

To address this problem, she needed a foot pedal insert to help her move more smoothly, more easily, and with more foot stability to adjust for her cerebral palsy. In addition, her height made it difficult to use the machine with complete comfort.



Step-Ups is a foot pedal insert made of a hardwood that enables the client to utilize her elliptical exercise machine comfortably.

The insert has a negative slope to keep the user's heel on the pedal and raised edges to prevent the user's foot from slipping off. The device’s toecap gives the user something to push against when operating the elliptical.

Development Process

  1. The students first met with the client to determine her needs for the design.
  2. The students consulted a physical therapist to get information on the affects of cerebral palsy on gait and posture.
  3. The students came up with a project definition that identified portability, safety, comfort, compatibility, and aesthetics as the main requirements of the design.
  4. The students conducted user observations to understand what issues the client was having with the elliptical exercise machine.
  5. The team conducted two rounds of user testing. The first involved mock up designs that tested heights and inclines of the pedals. The second round was done with an early prototype to determine if any other changes to the design were necessary.
  6. The students finalized the prototype design.