A step-climbing attachment for wheelchairs
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.