Mechanical Wheelchair Propulsion Attachment

Authors: Thi Bui, Riley Foss, Anusha Kudikyala

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Leineweber

The traditional wheelchair poses ergonomic problems for many users. The current mechanism for the propulsion of mechanical wheelchairs involves the user pushing or pulling the hand-rim that connects to the outer diameter of a wheelchair’s wheels. However, the large diameter of the hand-rim requires users to undergo an unfavorable range of rotary arm motion, which can result in rotator cuff injuries. Here, we propose to mitigate the risk of injury to patients by modifying the standard wheelchair with a ratchet and pawl system that would convert linear motion into rotational forward propulsion. The focus of this project will be to decrease the range of motion required by the shoulders to decrease the risk of damage to the rotator cuffs. Our aim is to also make the attachment cost-effective and modular so that it can be easily shipped, assembled, and accessible in third world countries.