World’s lightest, least expensive motorized wheelchair designed by BYU engineering students.
Young kids with various genetic disorders often have limited walking ability, requiring them to use wheelchairs. Yet, traditional wheelchairs can be too hard to push, while motorized ones tend to be expensive, heavy, and very bulky. Now a team of students at Brigham Young University have developed a lightweight powered wheelchair for two young brothers who have spinal muscular atrophy.
The frame of the chair is made out of cheap and readily available PVC pipes, allowing the whole device to weigh in at just over 20 lbs. There’s a battery under the seat and two electric motors power the front wheels. These are activated using a joystick on the hand-rest, allowing the kids to intuitively navigate wherever they want to go. Each of the two wheelchairs was built for under $500 using off-the-shelf components, a considerable savings compared to commercially available powered wheelchairs.
Most interestingly, the students will soon be releasing the parts list and construction plans for the wheelchairs, allowing just about anyone anywhere to build cheap and highly practical motorized wheelchairs.
|The Open Wheelchair Foundation is a collaborative group of people, working together to make an accessible, easy to build and easy to operate, motorized wheelchair solution.|
|World’s lightest, least expensive motorized wheelchair designed by BYU engineering students. This past year, five undergraduate mechanical engineering students have designed, manufactured and constructed an inexpensive, lightweight motorized wheelchair specifically for children such as Tanner and Skyler.|
|The chair is made with a PVC frame (strong enough for a child up to 50 pounds or about 6 years old) and is controlled by an armrest-mounted joystick like other chairs. The students produced the chair for under $495, making it likely the world’s least expensive motorized wheelchair—and possibly lightest at just over 20 pounds. Brigham Young University. Youtube Apr 10, 2015|