A step-climb­ing at­tach­ment for wheel­chairs

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH - Link to video https://youtu.be/A1QGlmhzS0s www.demm.co.nz/reader-en­quiry #160206

De­vel­oped by Aus­tralian re­searchers and fit­ted with maxon DC mo­tors, a step-climb­ing at­tach­ment suit­able for elec­tric wheel­chairs that of­fers a cost-ef­fec­tive func­tion­al­ity with­out hav­ing to pur­chase an en­tire new chair, is now avail­able.

The step-climb­ing at­tach­ment re­places an elec­tric wheel­chair’s wheels with a DC mo­tor drive mech­a­nism that en­ables the user to nav­i­gate kerbs and sin­gle steps. De­vel­oped by Dr Michael Behrens from UTS:CAS in part­ner­ship with North­cott In­no­va­tion, the step-climb­ing wheel­chair at­tach­ment has been patented. Dr Behrens said that it’s in­no­va­tive be­cause the mech­a­nisms are con­tained in­side such a small space. “There’s a lot of power re­quired to do a step-climb­ing ac­tion and it was a big chal­lenge but we’ve got it down to a very small compact space.”

Per­for­mance of the step-climb­ing at­tach­ment is en­hanced by maxon mo­tors drive sys­tem. The same tech­nol­ogy has been ap­plied from the Mars Rover pro­vid­ing un­com­pro­mis­ing de­pend­abil­ity where safety and re­li­a­bil­ity are cru­cial. A tried and true graphite brushed mo­tor and ce­ramic gear­head com­bi­na­tion pro­vides a rugged, compact drive train base. Con­troller feed­back via a magnetic en­coder en­sures high res­o­lu­tion and tight drive sys­tem con­trol by the user.

For those who rely on elec­tric wheel­chairs to get around, a sin­gle step up and down kerbs, or in and out of build­ings presents bar­ri­ers to what is usu­ally over­looked by non­wheelchair users. Cur­rent re­search and de­vel­op­ment is fo­cused on pro­duc­ing a com­mer­cial-grade pro­to­type for demon­stra­tion.

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