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How to Turn Any Wheelchair Into an Electric Scooter

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  • How to Turn Any Wheelchair Into an Electric Scooter
    IWA - Independent Wheelchair Assist

    IWA is a temporary power assist device for all manual wheelchair users in developed countries. The product allows the user to safely and independently access their local community via the users normal manual wheelchair, eliminating the need to transfer to another device. The user attaches to the device from the rear via a small bracket attached to the wheelchair The bracket slides into the mechanism located at the back of the device. As the user rolls forward, the mechanism lifts the two front castor wheels of the wheelchair above the ground. The bracket then locks, securing the chair and transferring the weight evenly across the four large wheels of both IWA and the users’ wheelchair. The user is then free to travel to a destination outside of the home. Once the destination is reached, the user can then disconnect if they so choose, lock the device and access the destination in their wheelchair.
    A Project for Grandad My Grandfather has been in a wheelchair for 62 years, suffering an accident at the age of 20. In his older age, Grandad lost his ability to transfer from his wheelchair into his mobility scooter to access his local community and interact with the rest of society. It was at this point that I investigated and found that many other wheelchair users suffer from similar issues. There are over 380 million wheelchair users globally that can afford 3-4,000 USD for powered mobility, so I decided to make use of this statistic. With the loss of ability, comes a loss of independence, but the market supplies only products to transfer the whole body into another device from the wheelchair. I was inspired by the solutions that I saw, but they needed to be applied in a much more accessible and creative way. The cost was too high for a middle to low income bracket (6,000 USD and above).
    I began with an in-depth research phase spanning 4 months, an entire first semester of our final year of Industrial Design. In this time I did expansive market research, interviews and spent a week restricted to a wheelchair to understand the psychological strains. In the second semester I chose one of three concepts created in the first semester and verified my design intention with a working prototype, further form and mechanical development and finally a hand-built final model showing the concept in full-scale (Visuals are included)

  • #2
    Electric freewheel?

    Pat, have you ever put a powered hub in a freewheel? Like an e-motion freewheel.
    Last edited by PeteShick; 05-30-2012, 02:36 PM.


    • #3
      Many have asked me this. There are many designs of electric powered contraptions that fit somehow in the front of wheelchairs. They help us by powering as opposed to us pushing. I like the developement of the latest electric hubs and am encouraged with the progress toward simple, lightweight, inexpensive solutions. However, I don't think it's there yet.

      The FreeWheel is a caster wheel which means it follows. It's designed to be pushed as opposed to "pulling". It wouldn't work as an electric assist in the present configuration.

      But, I'm proud of the FreeWheel design for its simplicity, lightweight and cost. So many of us are out and about with FreeWheels in places we thought we'd never see again! I'm a c6/7 quad and I feel ten feet tall!



      • #4
        That thing is massive!!

        I put an electric hub into my holly bike, with a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, run it all day and have yet to run out of juice.


        • #5
          Originally posted by NW-Will View Post
          That thing is massive!!

          I put an electric hub into my holly bike, with a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, run it all day and have yet to run out of juice.

          That is excellent...great idea (and you're right, far more compact than the original post!).

          What make is your handcycle attachment (I googled holly bike and didn't find anything), and where can you buy one?
          Gordon, father of son who became t6 paraplegic at the age of 4 in 2007 as a result of surgery to remove a spinal tumour.


          • #6
            I saw this device a while ago and immeidately saw that there were some problems, one being that it is huge and likely couldn't be used indoors but also it requires someone to keep their arms raised and to be leaning forward. This wouldn't work for me at all. I still can't get over the size, how could it be pratical for anyone with those dimensions/form-factor? The ZX-1 seems to to be the perfect solution and I would like to have one of those. It seems like it was built by a wheelchair user who got it. This seems like something built by someone who never depended on a chair and had creative good intentions.