Two-speed Manual Wheelchair Wheel

Period of Performance: 03/01/2002 - 02/28/2004

$323K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Magic Wheels, Inc.
Seattle, WA 98119
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (Applicant's Abstract): Phase I of the Two-Speed Manual Wheelchair Wheel project proved the feasibility of making a unique hypocycloidal 2-speed wheel incorporating important features aimed at enabling greater mobility, safety and comfort for wheelchair users. 100 percent of the prototype 2-speed wheel test subjects' felt these features would significantly improve their everyday mobility. A quick release axle mounting system allowed installation of Magic Wheels on 50 percent of the test subjects' personal wheelchairs without an adapter or modification. Phase II will allow us to bring the 2-speed wheels closer to market. This funding will cover the redesign of the product to optimize manufacturability, functionality and user friendliness. Additional wheel mounting adapters will be designed to accommodate a large number of existing wheelchair models. Computerized Finite Element Analysis (FEA) will be used to minimize component weight. Bridge tooling will be used to build 50 sets of 2-speed wheels for extensive clinical testing I evaluation. The clinical test program (in year two) will: 1) measure attributes of the two-speed wheels in every day living situations and 2) demonstrate, both quantitatively and qualitatively, improved mobility in ramp climbing / descending from 1:12 slope (normal wheelchair ramp) to 1:4 slope (very steep, not climbable with standard wheelchair). PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: Our goal is to greatly enhance the mobility of the over 1.2 million people (US) who live in manual wheelchairs and to have our two-speed manual wheels become the preferred wheel for special grade wheelchairs. The demonstrated ability of Magic Wheels to be installed easily on most existing manual wheelchairs should allow fast penetration of the wheelchair wheel market through a multi-level sales program (including Internet sales). Market research indicates a 5 year potential to grow a $30-50 million per year company (employing over a hundred people) selling the two-speed wheels and related products.