Category: Fine Motor Skills

Walter: An Alternating Center Of Gravity Wheelchair

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype wheelchair with an adjustable center of gravity for wheelchair users in developing countries. The Walter project was initiated to develop an adult active manual wheelchair compatible with the social, physical, and economic conditions of semi-urban environments in developing countries. The project was characterized by a four-step process: (1) initial research in Gothenburg (Sweden); (2) design and construction of a functional prototype with Whirlwind Wheelchair International in San Francisco; (3) field trials and user strudies in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) in collaboration with UCP Wheels for Humanity Indonesia and (4) development of a second and final prototype in Gothenburg using the data from the field trials and user studies to develop user requirements and technical specifications. The final design, Walter, is a rigid frame, active manual wheelchair that enables the user to temporarily move the seat 100 millimeters forward to alter the center of gravity, provideing two different seat positions and centers of gravity. The primary purpose of this functionality was to prevent the user from falling backwards as the handrims are firmly pushed when climbing heavily inclined slopes. The chair is made out of steel and primarily bicycle components so that it can be manufactured and repaired in the developing world. The research team has no exact cost calculations for manufacture, but they estimate that the price may be comparable to Whirlwind Wheelchair International's foldable chair, RoughRider (see separate entry). AUTHORS: Christian Bremer and Erik Ohlson. TITLE: Walter – A Wheelchair with an Alternating Center of Gravity Designed for Developing Countries (Chalmers University of Technology). WEBSITE: RESNA Student Design Competition. REF:


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Walter:  An Alternating Center Of Gravity Wheelchair