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Thread: Prototype for a manual stair climbing wheelchair

  1. #1

    Prototype for a manual stair climbing wheelchair

    This is a University of Michigan startup. The design was presented at We Make Health Fest in Ann Arbor today.

    The back wheels flex inward and the front wheels drop down for stability. Still got a ways to go before market but great that someone's interested in tackling this problem.

  2. #2
    There are some interesting ideas there but when I go up a steep hill in my wheelchair it is much, much less effort to go up forwards than to go up backwards, if only because I have a backrest to stop my body going back to far when I push. If I pull on my wheels going uphill it can be very difficult to stay sitting upright in the chair. Hence, whilst this concept is interesting I don't know how realistic it is to expect people to be able to pull themselves up the stairs backwards? This is an issue to sort out, not just issues with the design of the wheels.

  3. #3
    It is interesting but just a quick glance reveals a multitude of problems starting with the fact that the chair will have to be able to adapt to different size stairs if it is to be practical. Then there are the absurdities like Medicare bureaucrats who would view stair climbing as a convenience or luxury, not a necessity that they would approve.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    I can pull myself up stairs backwards if the hand rail is grippy enough for my wall side hand to get a hold of. Not pretty, but works. Steep hills I would never imagine doing that on. Forward, only!
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  5. #5
    I have seen the handrail technique being used to climb stairs and it works because you are pulling yourself into the back-rest of the chair and hence you get support from it but using the hand-rims on the wheel to pull yourself up the stairs backwards would be hard work physically as well as difficult to maintain sitting balance.

  6. #6
    People have been building stair climbing chairs for a while, or trying to:

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