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Thread: Attachment for Manual Wheelchair that Converts to Powered Wheelchair

  1. #21
    If you are planing to use a joy stick to control the unit, that will be one of your biggest failure points. Better to have it work from a smart phone.
    If you look in the manufacturers forum on here, you will see what people experience with "trained" people that come to work on their chairs.

  2. #22
    @funklab Okay let me try to clear that up. First, it wouldn't cost $8000. More around the $1500-$2500 range. Also, it wouldn't be so bulky, it would be a single wheel that you could quick dis-attach and carry with one hand. Picture the smartdrive but significantly cheaper, joystick controls, and the ability to have full electric turning abilities. Does that description help? Also, yes! Just one wheel to keep costs as low as we can.

  3. #23
    @Patrick Madse Battery is currently built onto the unit! We wanted to keep things as simple and clean as possible. Location of the device is currently right under the butt of the user attached to the center axle of the chair. We thought about moving it further up (under the legs) but had a lot of trouble finding a mounting location that would stay consistent between wheelchairs.

  4. #24
    @ProPulse, as you think about this device from an engineering perspective I would encourage you to also consider the business model/plan that will make your device successful. This may influence your product and/or the design choices you make. I expect that this is one of the reasons that members are recommending using parts that are 'off the shelf'. The market is relatively small; there are nuances in many sub-markets that you need to consider; success for manufacturers usually requires expertise aligning with the rules of insurance companies and DMRs; you'll need to invest in educating professionals that often recommend such devices (e.g. Occupational Therapists); and much more. We want a product that has staying power in the market.

  5. #25
    @nonoise Thank you for taking the time to respond to each question that was extremely helpful!! With respect to the FDA, we are definitely seeing how big of a challenge it will be to get approved. But we are ready for the fight. Also, it wouldn't be power assist. All the user would have to do is push the joystick and the device takes over!

  6. #26
    @August Wes Great point that is put into perspective perfectly with your analogy.

  7. #27
    @baldfatdad We've considered alternative controls (like an app for smart phones) but worried that taking away the ability to use the smart phone would be frustrating for the user. Also, it would make it really tough to use it in the rain or if you have less motor functions. I'll definitely be taking a look into the manufacturers forum today

  8. #28
    @HockeyFan Our team participated in a 'start-up' competition last week. We pretty much had to learn everything we could, with respect to business, over the course of 4 weeks. We did create a business model, go to market strategy, etc and made it to the semi-finals. Learned A LOT in the process. You are right though, there is still much we don't know in the business of Durable Medical Equipment world..

  9. #29
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Did you learn about medical device liability insurance? I've heard from other manufacturers that their premiums are on a variable cost model, increasing as a factor of units sold, due to ever increasing exposure to risk, as you do well, and can contribute a not insignificant amount to the pricing of devices.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  10. #30
    @Oddity We did look into it but were not entirely sure on details like how much insurance we realistically need as we scale. I'll keep doing more research into it though. As you mentioned, it'll be a balancing act with respect to adequate coverage and minimizing impact per unit cost to the users.

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