I need to find out about the design of wheelchairs and the people that use them and what they look for in their ideal wheelchair. I wont be doing something like the egg biped that toyota did but I have a few ideas. SO any responses would be appreciated.
people who use them: people who cant walk
design of wheelchairs: tossed together tubular steel framework with cheap rubber and seats
Make sure you try to design the weelchair economically considering most wheelchair owners/ disabled are not in the high income brackets.
first off, get to know the wheel BEAD SEAT DIAMETER. this is extremely important. It is a millimeter number that corresponds to how the tire interfaces with the rim. For example tire manufacturers can make several 26" tires that have different bead seats. (559, 590, 582) they are not interchangeable whatsoever. I owed a professional bike shop for a long time and felt awful when a wheelchair bound person came in and I did not always have the ability to order the correct tire or rim. Wheelchairs tend to have rims that are not even close to bike diameters.
Bike shops really do not have instant access to the needs of wheelchair parts. Bike shops might have spokes, but that is where the part interchangeability ends.
…and there it is…a wheel chair which uses common bike shop parts…what a concept!
consider also how to extend the wheelchairs ability to be part of something greater than itself:
I’m guessing this is just a student project or something, so this probably doesn’t matter, but wheelchairs in the US are regulated by the FDA. You can’t just build a wheelchair and start selling it. It has to go through a lengthy (i.e., years) and expensive (i.e., tens of thousands of dollars) FDA approval process. That is why there are few wheelchair manufacturers and their designs are generally conservative and unimaginative. If you push things too far, the FDA will slap you down and just make the whole approval process more costly and troublesome.
For example, Dean Kamen’s i-Bot (sort of a wheelchair precursor of the Segway) began clinical trials in 1999, and wasn’t approved until 2003. It takes deep pockets to fund a product development cycle with that long of a dead spot at the end.