There is a trend of increasing modularity within powered mobility devices (PMDs) motivated by clinicians and end-users requesting more customized and appropriate mobility solutions. Unfortunately, PMDs (Scooters and Electric Powered Wheelchairs) provide distinct sets of features and non-overlapping performance, severely restricting the benefits that true modularity could provide. Consequently, and in spite of the clinicians'and users'preference, the prescribed device is often inadequate or includes unnecessary and costly features. To address the shortcomings of PMDs, we have developed a Single Motor Propelled Wheelchair (SIMPL-WC) that incorporates a novel drive-train which allows for a true continuum of PMD solutions. The SIMPL-WC allows the clinician and user to select any combination of features, including steering type (manual/power), user interface, seating functions (powered/unpowered) which can be applied to one underlying device which is low-cost and performs well in all terrains and environments. The goal of this project is to finalize the design and testing of the SIMPL-WC. Specifically, we will perform design modifications to the Phase-I prototype suggested by stakeholders and perform a short- production run and conduct standards testing, focus groups, and field-trials with end-users. Additionally, we will design, fabricate and test the powered turning module (SIMPL-PTM) and the powered seating module (SIMPL-PSM). At the completion of the grant, testing, manufacturing and regulatory elements will be in place to facilitate successful commercialization.
The demand for powered mobility devices (PMDs) such as Scooters and Electric Powered Wheelchairs increases yearly due to our aging population, and has put an increasing burden on our healthcare industry to control and cut costs. Rather than innovate, manufacturers have cut costs by reducing quality, which has resulted in safety concerns for PMD users. The goal of this project is to finalize the research, development, and quality testing of a low-cost PMD which provides effective indoor and outdoor mobility, and includes a series of optional modules so the device can be tailored according to the needs of individual users.