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Wheelchair loading/unloading design input needed

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  • Wheelchair loading/unloading design input needed

    I am a biomechanical engineering student working on a design project involving unassisted transfer between a wheelchair and a personal vehicle. Specifically, we are developing solutions to allow for easy loading/unloading of manual wheelchairs without requiring extensive modifications to the vehicle.

    To guide our research and development, we would like input from potential users! If you are a wheelchair user who drives a vehicle, or have any experience in applicable areas, I would very much appreciate any comments you have, including (but certainly not limited to) reactions to the following questions:
    1. Do you use a wheelchair lift currently? What type?
    2. How often a week would you use such a product?
    3. What is the most difficult part of the transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle? From a vehicle to a wheelchair?
    4. How do you get from the wheelchair to the vehicle seat?
    5. Where, ideally, would your wheelchair be stored?
    6. What type of vehicle do you drive? What type of vehicle would you like to drive?
    7. What are the top 5 features you would see in an ideal product?

    Your input will greatly shape the direction of our development, as we are wanting to create a solution driven by customer needs. Please don't hesitate to ask questions and provide criticism, and thank you so much for your time and consideration!

    Sincerely,
    Brian
    University of Kansas School of Engineering

  • #2
    It's great to hear that you're working on this project. My boyfriend is in a wheelchair (T7-complete), and here are some answers...
    1. Do you use a wheelchair lift currently? What type? A car-top device that picks up the chair and stores it on the roof. How often a week would you use such a product? He drives every day.
    2. What is the most difficult part of the transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle? From a vehicle to a wheelchair? Transfers can be difficult for many reasons -- if you had to park on a gradient or it's raining (the pits!) or the vehicle doors don't open sufficiently to get the wheelchair close enough. He is looking to get a van with a lift so he can get out of the rain quickly and then transfer to some kind of power seat from within the van.
    3. How do you get from the wheelchair to the vehicle seat? Since he drives a truck (very high off the ground), he has a very small motorized seat that drops down to the height of the wheelchair to transfer into, and then lifts him up to the truck seat so he can slide in. It's very precarious and once up to the truck height, he's got to yank his legs around to get them inside.
    4. Where, ideally, would your wheelchair be stored? Inside the vehicle.
    5. What type of vehicle do you drive? What type of vehicle would you like to drive? He currently loves his Ford Explorer Sportstrac (which he had before his injury), but it's way too inconvenient. He's looking at vans now.
    6. What are the top 5 features you would see in an ideal product? Would not require the driver to break down the wheelchair for storage; have a remote opening device to minimize the time you have to spend outside; affordable (on everyone's list). I know that's only 3...

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you use a wheelchair lift currently? What type?
      Braun Chair Topper

      How often a week would you use such a product?
      Every day.

      What is the most difficult part of the transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle? From a vehicle to a wheelchair?
      Getting the wheelchair in or out of the car (without the Braun Chair Topper)

      How do you get from the wheelchair to the vehicle seat?
      I have a transfer seat that goes between the wheelchair and the car seat.

      Where, ideally, would your wheelchair be stored?
      Inside the car.

      What type of vehicle do you drive? What type of vehicle would you like to drive?
      I drive a Honda Accord. I would like to drive a mid-size sedan, coupe or wagon.

      What are the top 5 features you would see in an ideal product?
      1. Allow me to use a mid-size sedan, coupe or wagon with minimal modification
      2. Make it easier for me to get my wheelchair in and out of the car
      3. Make the process of getting the chair in and out of the car pretty quick
      4. It should not be egregiously expensive

      Comment


      • #4
        1. Do you use a wheelchair lift currently? What type?
          [B]Yes, Bruno Outrider as well as power topper (cover for truck bed)
        2. How often a week would you use such a product?
          Daily, Sometimes as many as 10 times per day
        3. What is the most difficult part of the transfer from a wheelchair to a vehicle? From a vehicle to a wheelchair?
          Height is the biggest concern for me as a quad. I can do all my own transfers but the surface I'm transfering to needs to be level or below the height of surface I'm transfering from. For my truck I use a Bruno Turney seat to accomplish that. Only problem with the transfer is whole process is about 7 - 10 mins and sucks when raining.
        4. How do you get from the wheelchair to the vehicle seat?
          Bruno Turney Seat
        5. Where, ideally, would your wheelchair be stored?
          For truck, in the bed. If I had a coupe I'd want it in trunk.
        6. What type of vehicle do you drive? What type of vehicle would you like to drive?
          Silverado 1500 Extended Cab. Like trucks but wouldn't mind a small car
        7. What are the top 5 features you would see in an ideal product?


        1. Quick
        2. Easy to use for quads (nothing requiring to much grip to manipulate)
        3. Doesn't look to out of place. If I spend $30,000 for a vehicle and how ever much for equipment I still want a clean looking vehicle.
        4. Affordable ...Shouldn't be more than 30-50% of the cost of vehicle
        5. Smart...For example I have to hold down a button to lift up/close shell on the bed of my truck. I should be able to push a single button because I either want it opened or closed...The seat I transfer into however I need to be able to stop it anywhere along its normal travel

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