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Attachment for Manual Wheelchair that Converts to Powered Wheelchair

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    #16
    @baldfatdad We are definitely making it so that the user can easily attach and detach in 5-10 seconds without getting out of the chair. The biggest issue with off the shelf parts is quality. Would you be equally as happy if some of the parts were off the shelf and for any other issues, we send out a team to come help in person? Also, I really like the suggestion of getting in the chair myself for a few days. I'm going to take you up on that and spend the next few days in the chair. I'm sure I'll have a new perspective towards the entire product.

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      #17
      I'm having trouble imagining what you're building. What makes it different/better than the ZX-1?

      It sounds like you're using just one wheel instead of two, which makes me wonder how it can turn, maybe with one of those funky articulated wheels that allows the smartdrive to turn (I don't know what they're called)?

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        #18
        I think it goes on the front rather than the rear FL. Wonder where the battery will go? On the unit or under the chair like the Smartdrive.

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          #19
          Yes, an improved power assist would be greatly accepted.

          Price: Understandably most members would be reluctant to answer this question online. My guess is under 1k. I've gone over that but that was early in the smartdrive game. I think your problem would be fighting the ridiculous cost of federal approval and Chinese ripoff competition yet keeping production worthwhile.

          Mounting: You say "wheel" and later say "axle". This is what SmartDrive did too. I (and another here) made a similar omniwheel which attached to the axle, but I used the SD attachment as I was unable to invent something better.

          Range: As you know range is dependant on battery size. With a single 250 watt hub motor 6 miles should be enough. What is better is to be able to have the option to have an additional battery to plug in parallel with it for longer journeys. I don't have an issue with NMC lithium holding a charge over a long time. Or one could use a swap method to keep them fresh.

          Weight: SD or lighter. I've got my NMC battery permanently mounted to the chair I use with the omniwheel.

          Immediate No-No: Having to be fitted by some DME or factory expert. If I send the money, I want the product. Just give me some written instruction and phone support if needed.

          Features: There are two. One is as you have mentioned, steering. The other is propulsion, not counting the ZX-1 the US products are push activated. Then push to activate again, over and over. I think the MX2 has a mode like the old MX1 has a keep going mode. Mine was a bit scary, might have been me. Joysticks solve both of these, but they are a bit of a major wheelchair addition. With my omniwheel propulsion I used an e-bike controller and a twist throttle which I mounted on the rail next to my wheelchair cushion. I use skid steer. Sometimes I let go of the throttle side to steer or hit the hand rim with me (clothed) elbow. I had a video on here at one time.

          Insurance: I've only used insurance twice. Once was to get out of the hospital. They said I needed a walker, yeah right. The other was for a cushion, took months, overcharged, fought for the money back. I haven't felt like going after them. If I like it I'll buy it.

          So I guess this is for a true or hypothetical for profit enterprise. You could change it up and make it into a DIY self help assuming people have access to commercial 3D printing. I don't know if commercial 3D printing exists.
          I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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            #20
            Originally posted by ProPulse View Post
            I never thought about programming the max speed to go down as a function of the battery life remaining. I'll definitely be taking that into consideration!
            Please don't. Or have the option to be remain at 100% power until it drops to 0.

            Have you seen a cordless Dyson vacuum cleaner vs a vanilla one? The vanilla ones drop off in power gradually. You end up with mediocre performance half the time. The Dyson performs at 100% power until it stops completely. That way you get better performance longer. An educated user should know that time amount and plan accordingly.

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              #21
              If you are planing to use a joy stick to control the unit, that will be one of your biggest failure points. Better to have it work from a smart phone.
              If you look in the manufacturers forum on here, you will see what people experience with "trained" people that come to work on their chairs.

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                #22
                @funklab Okay let me try to clear that up. First, it wouldn't cost $8000. More around the $1500-$2500 range. Also, it wouldn't be so bulky, it would be a single wheel that you could quick dis-attach and carry with one hand. Picture the smartdrive but significantly cheaper, joystick controls, and the ability to have full electric turning abilities. Does that description help? Also, yes! Just one wheel to keep costs as low as we can.

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                  #23
                  @Patrick Madse Battery is currently built onto the unit! We wanted to keep things as simple and clean as possible. Location of the device is currently right under the butt of the user attached to the center axle of the chair. We thought about moving it further up (under the legs) but had a lot of trouble finding a mounting location that would stay consistent between wheelchairs.

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                    #24
                    @ProPulse, as you think about this device from an engineering perspective I would encourage you to also consider the business model/plan that will make your device successful. This may influence your product and/or the design choices you make. I expect that this is one of the reasons that members are recommending using parts that are 'off the shelf'. The market is relatively small; there are nuances in many sub-markets that you need to consider; success for manufacturers usually requires expertise aligning with the rules of insurance companies and DMRs; you'll need to invest in educating professionals that often recommend such devices (e.g. Occupational Therapists); and much more. We want a product that has staying power in the market.

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                      #25
                      @nonoise Thank you for taking the time to respond to each question that was extremely helpful!! With respect to the FDA, we are definitely seeing how big of a challenge it will be to get approved. But we are ready for the fight. Also, it wouldn't be power assist. All the user would have to do is push the joystick and the device takes over!

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                        #26
                        @August Wes Great point that is put into perspective perfectly with your analogy.

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                          #27
                          @baldfatdad We've considered alternative controls (like an app for smart phones) but worried that taking away the ability to use the smart phone would be frustrating for the user. Also, it would make it really tough to use it in the rain or if you have less motor functions. I'll definitely be taking a look into the manufacturers forum today

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                            #28
                            @HockeyFan Our team participated in a 'start-up' competition last week. We pretty much had to learn everything we could, with respect to business, over the course of 4 weeks. We did create a business model, go to market strategy, etc and made it to the semi-finals. Learned A LOT in the process. You are right though, there is still much we don't know in the business of Durable Medical Equipment world..

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                              #29
                              Did you learn about medical device liability insurance? I've heard from other manufacturers that their premiums are on a variable cost model, increasing as a factor of units sold, due to ever increasing exposure to risk, as you do well, and can contribute a not insignificant amount to the pricing of devices.
                              "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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                                #30
                                @Oddity We did look into it but were not entirely sure on details like how much insurance we realistically need as we scale. I'll keep doing more research into it though. As you mentioned, it'll be a balancing act with respect to adequate coverage and minimizing impact per unit cost to the users.

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