Wheelchair is basically ‘a chair on two wheels’, either manually or electrically powered, controlled by a joystick. It is cold and complicated, expensive and heavy. Also, most wheel chairs can’t negotiate outdoor terrain, can’t climb stairs, and can’t even master a kerb. The basic principle or a chair to be called a wheelchair is to substitute moving wheels for lower extremities in order to provide mobility for those deprived of ambulation.
There are 50-60 million physically disabled people in our country. It will be many years before adequate surgical treatment will be available. These are amputees and people with disorders of central nervous system, including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, paraplegia and quadriplegia. Therefore wheelchair provides a good option.
The number of potential user of mobility aids increases drastically when one considers a large number of people who have restricted mobility due to arthritis or temporary physical disability. According to the narrator, there lies immense possibilities and by contributing little bit from his side to the disability sector would surely result in comforting change in the lives of the user.
Hence, the project 'Design of wheelchair' was undertaken as need was felt for a wheelchair in India which suites the Indian patients and gives them the much needed comfort and motivation to use a wheelchair.
Types of Wheelchairs.
The project of was primarily aimed at looking at the wheelchair in a completely new perspective and there by exploring new possibilities and changes in the existing product. The objective was to design a wheel chair which would aid in:
• Climbing up and coming down staircase. Human power driven.
• Ease of transferability.
• Integration of parts, components.
The final product was selected on below criteria:
• Maneuverability - Force transmission, turning radius, ease of breaking and turning.
• Ease of assembly - Number of parts and joints, nature of combining different materials and their behavior.
• Ease of construction and Visual Appeal - Weight to strength ratio - Minimise on weight and maximise on strength.
The final designed product - “Ascender” as it was named was aimed at providing higher level of freedom and self-reliance to the user. The ascender aims at giving an option to the user to negotiate kerbs and steps independently using human power. Makes public spaces more accessible to the user but also provides him the satisfaction of being on his/ own. Also, can be easily transported in parts and assembled with much ease.
Case Study Downloads:
• Ascender – Design of a Wheelchair - pdf