It seems like there is a solar powered concept design for just about everything today, and that even includes wheelchairs. This wheelchair design has retractable solar panels and even a solar powered gadget charger. It was created by a team of students at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Their wheelchair design won first place in the World Cerebral Palsy “Change My World In One Minute” competition.
If this wheelchair was available to anyone who needs it, it would change some people’s lives forever. The students took inspiration from retractable roofs on convertible cars to create the solar powered panels on this wheelchair design. According to the University of Virginia website, “The wheelchair can operate for more than 4 and a half hours at a speed of 5 mph on a fully charged battery, a range increase of more than 40% over batteries alone, and can run indefinitely at a speed of 1 mph on solar power alone, without using the battery.”
The solar panels serve two purposes. Not only do they allow the wheelchair to charge even on cloudy days, but they also provide shade on sunny days. Everything on this wheelchair can be controlled with a joystick. Anyone who has enough mobility to move a joystick can control the chair with ease. The wheelchair also has several USB power outlets so the user can charge a smartphone, tablet or any other mobile device using solar power.
These wonderful students decided to send their prize money (from winning this contest) and their completely operational wheelchair prototype to the man with Cerebral Palsy who inspired them to create this in the first place. 17 million people around the world have Cerebral Palsy. It’s a permanent disability which affects movement. I hope someday this joystick-controlled super-wheelchair can be available to anyone who needs it.
Solar Powered Wheelchair Design
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Via: [Damn Geeky]