Active Projects

SmartAssist (Zack)

The SmartAssist team is developing a power assist system, similar to the Permobil SmartDrive device, that is attachable to a manual wheelchair. Instead of being powered by a remote (such as a motorized wheelchair), the user of the SmartAssist will be able to manually propel themselves and the motor will kick in to match the speed. This allows the user to maintain a faster pace without having to overexert themselves. This will also be particularly useful to maintain momentum on different types of terrain and up inclines. This project involves the application of mechanical parts and concepts such as motors, power delivery, control, and energy storage.

Mobile Platform

Mobile Platform is an electro-mechanical project that is designing a platform that raises and lowers to help the project partner get in and out of their wheelchair that they use for travel. The team is aiming to build a portable platform that can move vertically by ~6-8 inches, is easily detachable, and lightweight enough to carry on the back of her wheelchair when traveling.

Umbrellectric (Vyoma)

This is a project intended to help Vyoma, a student with a mobility disability, keep dry in the rain and better access her school materials. This project’s goal is to design a motorized arm that will hold/store and deploy an umbrella through the use of controls that she can easily access. The desk Vyoma currently has attached to her motorized chair is also being modified by adding a compartment to store her laptop. This will give her the option to keep her laptop out of the way when she’s not using it as well as protect it on rainy days.

Edge Sensing (Daniel and Stanford)

Edge Sensing’s goal is to create wheelchair attachable sensing units that detect sudden changes in altitude, warning users with vision impairment of curbs, edges, and other changes in the path. The 3D printed modules attach to all four corners of the chair and release audio feedback when they detect changes. We are currently working on creating an easy-to-use centralized system and replacing the audio tones with haptic feedback in the wheelchair seat.

Handcycle Brakes (Bonnie)

The goal of our project is to enable Bonnie to safely brake her handcycle. Currently, she has access to an unreliable backpedaling method to slow down while cycling, but this method has a chance of disengaging, disabling Bonnie’s only method for braking. Due to Bonnie’s quadriplegia, she does not have access to traditional brakes, like the parking brake currently installed on the handcycle. We hope to modify the current braking system to actuate using input from her elbow or head to will allow Bonnie to safely and reliably brake.