Geared Ramp Device for Manual Wheelchairs

Period of Performance: 02/01/2004 - 08/31/2005

$111K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Design/build Architects-west MFG JV
Hagerstown, MD 21740
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Each year thousands of people need to use a wheelchair for some limited period. Either because of their age or the nature of their injury it is not practical to move into a fully accessible house, and installing a lift or elevator is prohibitively expensive. Typically the solution is to construct a temporary ramp. These ramps are expensive, difficult to use, and because they require a great deal of space they often will not fit where they are most needed. The device we propose to test in this research uses the mechanical advantage gained when a large wheel rotates a smaller wheel. This allows the user to ascend a steeper angle while exerting the same force required on a ramp. Preliminary working prototypes have demonstrated that this concept produces a direct replacement for most ramps that is easier and safer to use, is less expensive, and that fits into many locations too small to allow construction of a ramp. Through the construction and testing of a professionally manufactured fully working prototype we propose to further develop the current design, measure and document the forces involved, explore different materials, and identify yet undetected problems.