EC.721 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate

Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries

Related Resources

Sub-Saharan Trikes

These photos are a compilation of many tricycles seen by Amos Winter in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia over the past two years.

Manufacturing Videos

These videos by Amos Winter show how various African workshops produce their wheelchairs.

APDK Handcycle manufacturing This video shows the process of making a tricycle at APDK in Nairobi
APDK Wheelchair manufacturing   
This video shows the process of making a wheelchair at APDK in Nairobi
DAGE Handcycle manufacturing   
This video shows the process of making a tricycle at Disabled Aids and General Engineering in Dar es Salaam
Mobility Care - Wheelchair manufacturing This video shows how Mobility Care makes a wheelchair
Disacare - Wheelchair manufacturing   
This video shows how Disacare makes a wheelchair, as well as some of the modifications they have invented in their shop

Promotional and Demonstration Videos

These videos highlight the designs of various wheelchairs.

Whirlwind’s RoughRiderTM This is a promotional video for Whirlwind’s new chair, the RoughRider. (Courtesy of Whirlwind Wheelchair International. Used with permission.) Whirlwind’s RoughRider
TOTEM RoughRider (Columbia) This promotional video is for Whirlwind’s RoughRider, as produced in Columbia. (Courtesy of Whirlwind Wheelchair International. Used with permission.)

TOTEM RoughRider

Perdomo, J., and the CRRV. “Whirlwind RoughRider wheelchair made in Colombia.” September 23, 2006. Google Videos. Accessed September 10, 2009.

Freedom Technology Tricycle Research This video is awesome! Freedom Technology is a wheelchair workshop in the Philippines. They did great research into user needs and came up with some awesome designs. mmccambridge. “tricycle research.” March 15, 2007. YouTube. Accessed September 10, 2009.
MORPH handcycle by Move With Freedom, Inc. Rory McCarthy, one of the class team mentors, is developing a new handcycle that can morph between a low position for long rides and a high position for maneuvering indoors. Check out the MORPH in action! Unavailable
M-Lab Leveraged Freedom Chair The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is a wheelchair-based mobility aid designed for use in developing countries. Developed at MIT’s M-Lab, it is capable of navigating nearly any type of terrain and is made entirely of locally-available bicycle parts and materials.

Proof of concept

amosgwinter. “The Leveraged Freedom Chair.” June 1, 2009. YouTube. Accessed September 10, 2009.

LFC on a rough dirt road

amosgwinter. “LFC trial in Nairobi, Kenya - August 2009.” August 16, 2009. YouTube. Accessed September 10, 2009.

Web Resources

I. MIT resources

D-Lab is a program that fosters the development of appropriate technologies and sustainable solutions within the framework of international development. D-Lab’s mission is to improve the quality of life of low-income households through the creation and implementation of low cost technologies. D-Lab’s portfolio of technologies also serves as an educational vehicle that allows students to gain an optimistic and practical understanding of their roles in alleviating poverty.

There are currently nine different academic offerings that make up the suite of D-Lab classes, falling into the broad categories of Development, Design and Dissemination. Several of these classes, including EC.701 D-Lab I: Development, EC.720J D-Lab II: Design, and EC.715 D-Lab: Disseminating Innovations for the Common Good, have been published in MIT OpenCourseWare.

M-Lab Mobility Lab @ MIT website, including news from students, information about community partners across the globe, and work from previous class projects.
- 2.007 on MIT OpenCourseWare   
- Archival documentary videos
This is the MIT mechanical engineering department’s introduction to mechanical design. The lecture notes are the best compilation of design principles I have ever seen. Students build robots for a class project (where do you think I got the idea for our class?). You can find some really ingenious technical solutions in some of the robots.
2.744 This is MIT’s graduate product design class in mechanical engineering. It has many great links to other sites, and tells about the basics of product design.
II. Disability and wheelchairs
Disability KAR The Disability Knowledge and Research Web site has tons of academic articles and other useful info about disability around the world.
Motivation The Motivation Web site has many wheelchair related articles and links to other disability organizations.
Whirlwind Wheelchair International The Whirlwind Wheelchair International Web site has many wheelchair related articles and links to other disability organizations.
III. General resources
Efunda Good place to look up analysis that has to do with engineering. Forget what stress is? efunda can tell you all about it.
Google If you have never used Google™, you probably grew up in a cave. It is the best search engine ever!!!
Google Scholar Google Scholar is an easy way to get academic articles for free. It works just like regular Google.
How Stuff Works How Stuff Works lives up to its name. It is the best resource for finding out how different technical things work. This Web site will serve as the class text.
McMaster Carr It’s like a hardware store with 6.022X1023 different products.
Wikipedia Wikipedia is great for learning a small amount about anything. Want to know when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? This is the place to go.
Matweb Matweb is a great place to find material properties. They have information on just about any material you can imagine. This is a good place to look up mathematical concepts. You can quickly find things like common integrals or trig identities.
USPTO At the U.S. Patent office, you can search for any patent issued from the 1700’s till now. Looking through patents generates good ideas, and prevents you from reinventing the wheel. If you are thinking of designing a protective carrying case for your banana, sorry, it already exists: U.S. Patent number 6918231.
Free Patent Fetcher If you find a patent that looks sounds interesting, like a banana carrying case, Free Patent Fetcher is a really easy way to download it in pdf form.
UNDP The United Nations Development Programme Web site has many articles about development.
USAID The United States Agency for International Development Web site is another resource with many articles about international development and disability.
World Bank This Web site is a resource for all kinds of info, including general statistics for every country.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2009
Learning Resource Types
Demonstration Videos
Image Gallery
Lecture Notes
Projects with Examples