Platform for wheelchairs

SUMMARY

The students from IES Vegas Bajas who participate in “Edu Makers” are currently developing a project collaboratively with ASPACE.

The project started in February when we contacted the association about the possibility of motorising a manual wheelchair. The initial idea was conceived as a result of the significantly higher prices of electric-powered wheelchairs (approximately 1700E) as compared to the option of adding-on a motorised system for manual wheelchairs (approximately 300E).

After sending a few emails, ASPACE contacted us to better define this project and, on the 10th of March, we had a videoconference with the members of the responsible team for the TICS of ASPACE.

THE PROBLEM

In this meeting, we agreed that our contribution would consist in developing a mobile platform for the manual wheelchairs to be placed on.

The aims of this platform would be:

  • To confirm that the person is able to control an electric-powered wheelchair.
  • To assist carers with the transfers of people who need wheelchairs.
  • To allow the self-shifting of the platform following coloured lines placed on the floor.

For instance, a red line could lead to the dining-room, a blue line could lead to the workshops, etc.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

Following this initial meeting, we visited the facilities of ASPACEBA in Badajoz to assess the characteristics and the needs of people with cerebral palsy and find the best solutions to conform them. This experience allowed us to see the way that this association works and better understand both its resources and needs.

It was after this visit when we started developing the design of the platform. We created a Google Drive document for everyone to include its own ideas.

From this document the first models emerged.

The first version:

Once we had the first design of the platform, we thought about the option of placing motors in the central position of the plate and include a transmission.

However, after discussing with ASPACE, we modified the initial design, as they thought it would be easier for them to place the wheelchair on the plate by pushing the wheelchair from the back to the front of the platform.

 

Talking about motors, we have made several trails with different motors. The first trials were performed with small motors (TSINY Small DC Worm Gear Reducer Motor 12V 80 RPM for Wheelchair) which were purchased from Amazon. However, we soon realised that these were not enough to move weights of approximately 100kg.

Therefore, we contacted again ASPACE to ask them whether they could get a few motors of any old electric-powered wheelchairs which were not in use at that time. They contacted several associated centres as well as orthopaedic suppliers and they got them from Ortofarma in Badajoz. They provided us with an old wheelchair that conformed to our needs and we eventually could carry on with the project.

In the next video you can see the different trials performed with both types of wheels.

Finally, we had to looked for wheels for the platform. The wheelchair wheels are too expense and we want to build it as cheap as possible so we have chosen hand truck wheels. You can watch how the students adapt they in this video.

CONCLUSION

After a few trials and incorporating new ideas, we came up with this design which is likely to be the final one.

Once the design was finalised, we selected the materials and we proceed to set it up.

The materials were the following:

  • UDOO NEO (You can watch the project in this web. We have asked to use their board in our project because this board is Raspberry and Arduino Compatible)
  • One motor driver Sabertooth 2x25 V2
  • Two wheelchair motors.
  • Four buttons.
  • Proximity sensors.
  • Infrared sensors to detect the coloured lines on the floor.
  • One wood board.
  • One slotted angle iron.
  • Four hand truck wheels.

And here you can watch my students working on it.

Finally, you can watch on this video how the platform is nowadays.