Full Content is available to subscribers

Subscribe/Learn More  >

The Design and Testing of a Low-Cost, Globally-Manufacturable, Multi-Speed Mobility Aid Designed for Use on Varied Terrain in Developing and Developed Countries

[+] Author Affiliations
Amos G. Winter, V, Mario A. Bollini, Danielle H. DeLatte, Harrison F. O’Hanley, Natasha K. Scolnik

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. DETC2009-87609, pp. 657-663; 7 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 8: 14th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 6th Symposium on International Design and Design Education; 21st International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4905-7 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Mobility aids that are currently available in developing countries do not fully meet users’ needs. People require a device that is maneuverable within the home and that can travel long distances on rough roads. To address this problem, we have designed the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), a wheelchair-based mobility aid capable of navigating virtually any terrain by optimally utilizing upper body power for propulsion through a variable-speed lever drivetrain. The lever system achieves a 4:1 change in mechanical advantage, equating to leverage that ranges from 0.42X to 1.65X a standard wheelchair hand rim. In comparative trials, the LFC demonstrated capabilities that far exceed those of any mobility aid currently available in the developing world; it was able to cruise on smooth surfaces at 2m/s (5mph), climb muddy, grassy hills with a 1:3 slope, and navigate terrain with a coefficient of rolling resistance as high as 0.48. This operational flexibility should make the LFC usable on any terrain, from rural walking paths to tight indoor confines, and greatly increase the mobility of people with disabilities in developing countries. The LFC may also be attractive to wheelchair users in developed countries, as its performance breadth exceeds that of currently available products.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



Interactive Graphics


Country-Specific Mortality and Growth Failure in Infancy and Yound Children and Association With Material Stature

Use interactive graphics and maps to view and sort country-specific infant and early dhildhood mortality and growth failure data and their association with maternal

Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In