Low-cost portable shareable wheelchair mobility
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Users of standard manual wheelchairs sometimes lack the endurance for extended travel or may be temporarily fatigued enough to need assistance with wheeled mobility. Elderly manual wheelchair users in nursing homes and assisted living facilities find their independence restricted by their lack of ability or their self-confidence to embark on extended travel with ambulatory companions. Current manual wheelchair power add-on units are expensive and require modifications or semi-permanent mechanical adapters attached to the chair. We propose adapting inexpensive, mass-produced, electric scooters (the 2-wheel "stand-on" type) to provide powered mobility for manual wheelchairs only when needed. These scooters already integrate adjustable front wheel steering with power controls, high endurance batteries, and a long life motorized drive wheel in a compact, very robust, and very inexpensive package. Our goal for this project is to produce a simple clip-on electronic power controller for the scooter and a very low cost, molded plastic mechanical adapter to easily and safely, but temporarily, adapt such electric scooters to add power to manual wheelchairs. We propose a system that requires NO modifications or screw-on attachment points to the wheelchair. Thus, the power train can be shared, as needed, among all the manual wheelchair users capable of safely using it at residential facilities for the elderly and for others who may fatigue from extend use of manual wheelchairs. During SBIR Phase 1 we will develop an intuitive and safe hand controller for manual wheelchair users in residential facilities to control our scooter-based power assistance unit. We will refine our prototype attachment system to couple an electric scooter to a manual wheelchair, and we will refine our electronic motor power control clip-on unit. We will evaluate scooter/wheelchair system performance on test tracks based on measurements made during architectural surveys of residential facilities. We will not do field testing with mobility impaired subjects until SBIR Phase 2.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Augmentech, Inc. 5001 Baum Blvd Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Number of Employees: