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SIMPL Wheelchair

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This Global Health Medical Device is designed for or implemented within resource-limited settings - Browse the devices - Add a device

Health Topic Physical disabilities
Classification Treatment
Scope Prototype
Location Africa

Problem being addressed[edit]

There is a tremendous need for assistive technologies to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in developing countries. In particular, the need for wheelchairs is estimated to be anywhere between 20 million and 100 million worldwide. Due to several factors, including an underdeveloped healthcare system, stigmas associated with disability, and the below-average income of most disabled people in India, there is a high need for wheelchairs and other assisted technologies.

Detailed description of the solution[edit]

The key feature of this device is that it can operate on rough terrain. In order to do this, one of the wheelchair’s key features is a fifth wheel located under the seat that is connected to the motor used for propulsion. This increases stability, traction and maneuverability.

Relevance to developing country settings[edit]

Researchers in India have been working with a team from the University of Pittsburgh to develop a low-cost electric wheelchair. It will be able to run on uneven ground throughout urban and rural areas and will cost a fraction of what similar chairs do.

Designed by[edit]

  • Designed by: Jon Pearlman, Associate Director of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
  • Manufacturer location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA


Peer-reviewed publication[edit]

Pearlman J, Cooper R, Chhabra HS, and Jefferds A. Design, development and testing of a low-cost electric powered wheelchair for India. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2009 Jan;4(1):42-57. Abstract available here.

Other internally generated reports[edit]

Gillogly, K. (2011, March 17). Pitt and India join forces to build wheelchair. The Pitt News. Link available here.

IP and copyright[edit]

Personal vehicle, Jonathan L. Pearlman et al. Patent number: 7882909 Filing date: Sep 14, 2007 Issue date: Feb 8, 2011 Application number: 11/901,137