Problem being addressed[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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

References[edit | edit source]

Peer-reviewed publication[edit | edit source]

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 | edit source]

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

IP and copyright[edit | edit source]

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

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