News for Wheelchair Users: Motorized Conversion Device

For wheelchair users, having a functional and easy-to-use chair is a must. But the best chairs are often far beyond the financial capabilities of most families, leaving many users with labor-intensive non-motorized wheelchairs. Designer Ju Hyun Lee proposes a simple alternative to pricey electric wheelchairs: an add-on device that gives power to conventional wheelchairs.

The NEWS (New Electric Wheelchairs) device fits over the wheels of a non-motorized wheelchair, with a control bar that sits above the user’s lap. It provides power to the chair, making it easier for the user to get around without help and without the tiring├é┬árepetitive motions of propelling the wheelchair with muscle power.

The brilliant design would be less expensive than buying a new motorized wheelchair, but would provide just as much power to get the user to where they need to go. Once attached to the chair’s wheels, the NEWS can be pushed down to the floor to allow the user to exit the chair easily. Simple joystick controls make it easy to get around. Though still a concept, this revolutionary idea could one day provide increased mobility in nursing homes, hospitals, and private homes without the exorbitant cost of motorized wheelchairs.

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See more in Unbuilt Concepts or under Technology. May, 2010.