Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wheelchair lift design in the running for a da Vinci award

Congratulations to the Utah State University student designers of the wheelchair lift for being nominated for a da Vinci Award.

USU students with the wheelchair lift.
The awards are given by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help create awareness of the importance of assistive technology and bring more of it to the public.

The daVinci Awards will be
announced on March 10.
The wheelchair lift was designed by USU mechanical engineering students in partnership with the Utah Assistive Technology Program

The idea for the wheelchair lift, demonstrated in this YouTube video, came from UATP's Amy Henningsen who was having trouble lifting her mother's manual wheelchair into the car trunk on shopping trips.

Students James Somers, McKay Pace and Brian Laird designed the project for their Senior Design Class under a grant from the National Science Foundation. The device helps people with disabilities and their families easily put manual wheelchairs into car trunks.

Some unique characteristics about the device:

  • No modifications to the trunk required.
  • Adjustable heights and lengths.
  • Clamp for securing the wheelchair.
  • Ratcheting handle – prevents slipping of chair when not in motion. 
  • Safety guard over the winch.
  • Additional space left in the trunk for other items.
  • Cost effective at approximately $1000. 
  • A utility patent is pending.

Winners of the da Vinci Awards will be announced March 10. For more information on the awards and the ceremony, click the flier below.

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