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Leverage Freedom Wheelchair
Winner - Gold
Designer: MIT M-Lab & Continuum Design Teams
Design Type: Health
Company / Organization / School: Continuum
Unlike traditional wheelchairs, The Leverage Freedom Chair uses the chain & sprocket drive train of a standard bicycle in conjunction with 2 extended push levers to give the user a 4 to 1 change in mechanical advantage, a huge advantage on bad terrain. The user pushes forward on the levers to propel the chair forward. To go through mud, the user grabs high on the lever to maximize leverage. To go fast, the user then “changes gears” by grabbing and pushing low on the levers. This system gives a disabled individual access to the roughest terrain while allowing them to go faster on smooth terrain than in a normal wheelchair. The developing nation version of the Leverage Freedom Chair is constructed from standard tubing and existing bike parts that can be easily acquired in these countries. It’s constructed using familiar fabrication techniques and because it’s so simple, it can be repaired at the local bike shop. For a disabled individual in a developed country, where access to good roads and trails is readily available, increased mobility means recreation.