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  • Help us design a wheelchair

    I am part of a student design team working on a new rigid ultralight wheelchair. We are working with a couple wheelchair users personally, but would like to get as many opinions as possible.

    Let us know:

    What are your experiences with wheelchairs?

    What kind of chair do you have?

    What do you like or dislike about your chair?

    Is there anything you would like to see in a chair?

    Any and all comments are welcome.

  • #2
    Originally posted by cwdesign View Post
    I am part of a student design team working on a new rigid ultralight wheelchair. We are working with a couple wheelchair users personally, but would like to get as many opinions as possible.

    Let us know:

    What are your experiences with wheelchairs?

    What kind of chair do you have?

    What do you like or dislike about your chair?

    Is there anything you would like to see in a chair?

    Any and all comments are welcome.
    Three years on wheelchair, since I have post polio syndrome.

    Use to have a China made open frame chair.

    Now using Quickie GTi.

    What I dislike about GTi:
    a. Too heavy.
    b. Too many parts.
    c. Difficult to adjust the caster angle to 90 degree.
    d. Difficult to adjust the toe in/out of the camber tube.
    e. The alxe plate is difficult to align.
    f. The side guard clamp will move in and out easily.
    g. Not fully custom fit.

    What I like about GTi:
    a. The frame design looks handsome.
    b. It roll smooth and fast.
    c. Responsive.
    d. Well balance.
    e. Over all design is stylist.
    Life is meaningles, though you create the purpose.sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Glad to hear of your project!
      I've been in a chair for 63 years. Yep.
      Currently using a TiLite rigid light weight chair. Hope to purchase a power add-on soon.
      Currently use no armrests, use side panels to protect clothing, but my elbows seem to always rest on the tire - there's no "fender" there. It seems that if the side panel was flared out a tad at the top, the tire would be covered a bit, but the flare would not come near the pushrim. It would create a spot to rest one's elbow.
      Other suggestions: have options for folks who want a colapsable reacher, water bottle, etc. on board, but recepticles designed into the chair so they wouldn't stick out.

      Comment


      • #4
        The biggest issue with the great designs already on the market today is cost, IMO. Design a great chair, free of the profit motive, and you'll really be innovating. No amount of novelty in a wheelchair design will make it easier to get into one, or help many people, if it costs upwards of $5k, or more.

        Solve that flaw, and you will have something of real design value.

        If you're doing this for a grade, I recommend searching this forum and you'll find a number of threads just like this one, with lots of feedback, from others looking for help with their class work.

        Good luck.
        "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

        "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback everyone. Yea, we've heard a lot of talk about cost reduction. I've heard some horror stories about insurance trying to get out of covering some of the higher end chairs.

          We're doing this out of a passion for design, the grade is just icing on the cake. Thanks for the tip, we'll check out some of the other threads.

          Also, thanks for helping out, I gather, there are a ton of students like us trolling the forums for help.

          Triumph: We've been looking into additional chair functionality including a charging port powered by wheel kinematics, clips, and other small storage options.
          But yes, keeping these additions low profile is key.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm the last person to want to interfere with anyone's entrepreneurial drive, but chipping away at the $5K mark is probably close to a non-starter. Short of revolutionizing wheelchair manufacturing processes, a new wheelchair design has to go through some seriously expensive FDA clearance hurdles before it lands under even its first tush, which immediately jacks up the price. Jeff Adams wrote up a pretty exhaustive post on the topic (relating to liability insurance, iirc) a while back.
            stephen@bike-on.com

            Comment


            • #7
              focus on the footplates - - I have been in a chair 25+ years and have yet to find a chair that keeps my feet in place.

              Comment


              • #8
                I ride an 80's quickie titanium. Main complaint is the armrests which have aluminum blocks that are grooved for bolts in their holding system, they become loose and sloppy quickly. I had stainless steel blocks machined, much more durable but still get loose.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DaleB View Post
                  The biggest issue with the great designs already on the market today is cost, IMO. Design a great chair, free of the profit motive, and you'll really be innovating. No amount of novelty in a wheelchair design will make it easier to get into one, or help many people, if it costs upwards of $5k, or more.

                  Solve that flaw, and you will have something of real design value.

                  If you're doing this for a grade, I recommend searching this forum and you'll find a number of threads just like this one, with lots of feedback, from others looking for help with their class work.

                  Good luck.
                  I'll +1 this.

                  Originally posted by stephen212 View Post
                  I'm the last person to want to interfere with anyone's entrepreneurial drive, but chipping away at the $5K mark is probably close to a non-starter. Short of revolutionizing wheelchair manufacturing processes, a new wheelchair design has to go through some seriously expensive FDA clearance hurdles before it lands under even its first tush, which immediately jacks up the price. Jeff Adams wrote up a pretty exhaustive post on the topic (relating to liability insurance, iirc) a while back.
                  same w/ this.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What are your experiences with wheelchairs? I'm an active teen, part-time user due to flare ups of a neurological disorder. Until I got my first ultralight a month ago, I thought all wheelchairs were total crap...coming from using a standard folding chair I couldn't even push up a ramp without help.

                    What kind of chair do you have? Tilite ZRA series one....used due to cost constraints and my crappy insurance. But far better than any other I've had yet.

                    What do you like or dislike about your chair? Could be more adjustable, like the Icon, but it's pretty good. I love how light it is (have heard the ZRA2 is lighter, and of course the totally fixed frame ZR is lighter yet, but I'm on my first ultralight...so we'll see) And like everybody else has said....the cost. It can really be a deal-breaker.

                    Is there anything you would like to see in a chair? Options...lots of options, more seat adjustability. An easy to fold-down back for rigids, adjustable footplate height, option for flip-up even on rigids, which I'm now wishing I had gotten. And the light weight and the rigid frame, or if it's a folder, it had better be good, sturdy, and an option for a less boxy frame, even on a folder. Oh, and choices of front frame angles, especially on folders, since these tend to be nothing short of battle tanks, and have turning radiuses that are ridiculously large due to those footrests that stick way out. And paint color options, that's a big deal to teens like me. Being able to personalize it makes it more socially acceptable and makes you more comfortable using it from an aesthetics and body image view point
                    Oh, and last but not least....try some sort of single back-wheel caster or single rear anti-tipper with a wheel, like they have on sports chairs? I'd love to have one on my every day chair like that, but I don't tihnk it exists in a compatible for form my chair.
                    Tourette's Syndrome - motor tics of the legs, feet and back, which can make it difficult or impossible to walk

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi! I live and teach in SW Ohio. Due to a surgery that damaged my femoral nerve, I have become a part time crutch user and part time wheelchair user. I use a power chair (that I picked up used) at school and an ill-fitting Q7 (that was done by a nightmarish dme) everywhere else. Based on my experience, my wish list would include:
                      -Some way to make fitting a chair more user friendly so that even bottom feeder dme's could get it
                      right.
                      -The obvious lower price we all want and need-my manual chair should not cost more than a nice
                      used car.
                      -Ultra-lightweight with an integrated lightweight power add-on and freewheel, would be ideal. I want
                      the exercise from using my manual and the freedom of my power chair in a package I can transport
                      by myself without having to drive a van. Again, cost will be a factor. The $4000+ chair, $500
                      freewheel, and $6000+ power add-on is a ridiculous amount of money that I just don't have.
                      -A design that will not throw me face first onto the ground every time my casters hit a crack.
                      I know I'm asking for the moon but thanks for listening and, if you manage to come up with something close, I would love to try it out for you!:-) I'm sure my kids at school would give you some great feedback as well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        briddellm has an excellent idea. Come up with a "chair" that is used to find the size of the chair you will buy. Something like the thing that use to be in shoe stores to measure your feet for shoes. I picture an inexpensive plastic device like a chair with sliding parts to measure length, widths, heights, angles, COG. So even the most inept DME could get it right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by baldfatdad View Post
                          briddellm has an excellent idea. Come up with a "chair" that is used to find the size of the chair you will buy. Something like the thing that use to be in shoe stores to measure your feet for shoes. I picture an inexpensive plastic device like a chair with sliding parts to measure length, widths, heights, angles, COG. So even the most inept DME could get it right.
                          Some believe that chair already exists.
                          stephen@bike-on.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The oh so elusive an mythical chair that has sliding parts and can be used to get the measurements and fit just right.....like snuffleupagus.

                            My advice would be to make it in as many colors as possible.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by voxina View Post
                              Being able to personalize it makes it more socially acceptable and makes you more comfortable using it from an aesthetics and body image view point
                              Anyone else have thoughts on chair aesthetics?
                              How much does it matter to you?

                              Comment

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