(Image via www.intelliwheels.net)
Wheelchair van conversions are helpful for getting where you need to be, but when it comes to wheelchair users needing to physically push their wheelchair, it isn’t easy. It actually takes a lot of effort, making it very physically straining.
So what if it was possible for wheelchair users to move with more mobility and speed with half the effort without using motors or additional maintenance?
Now they can.
Former University of Illinois students came up with a concept that is said to potentially revolutionize wheelchair manufacturing and make everyday tasks twice as easy than with a normal wheelchair.
The company, by the name of IntelliWheels, started 5 years ago by co-founders Marissa Siebel and Scott Diagle. The innovation utilizes the concept of bicycle gears. Scott, CEO of IntelliWheels, noticed as an Illinois student how many students were wheelchair users. He would watch them speed past him and other walking students as they were on their way to class and getting around campus. This brought the idea to his mind that is wheelchair users could shift gears on their wheelchair, it would let them go as fast as they wanted at the most efficient pace.
With normal wheelchair wheels, the handrims are directly connected to the wheels, but with IntelliWheels Easy Push moves at a 2:1 gear ratio. As force is turned into torch, it turns the gearbox into the center of wheel, and the gearbox then multiples that torch and finalizes by turning the wheel into forward motion.
It’s similar to riding a bicycle on a low gear up a hill. IntelliWheels are always in low gear, making it easy to go up hills and generate more mobility and speed.
No motors or batteries, maintenance free, easy installation within minutes and fits on almost any foldable wheelchair.
As Marissa and Scott were in the process of coming up with prototypes, they decided that they should add to the team. They hired a product manager who is a wheelchair user himself and Paralympian, Joshua George.
They were also recently able to hire 2 more engineers, since they raised more than $2 million in grants.
With such a great team and the University of Illinois providing necessary tools, IntelliWheels has been able to get their innovation on it’s way toward the road to success.
To further understand IntelliWheels operates, check out the video below of Joshua pulling a car by using IntelliWheels Easy Push.