A sports wheelchair for low-income countries

Erica L Authier, Jon Pearlman, Ana L Allegretti, Ian Rice, Rory A Cooper
Disability and Rehabilitation 2007 June 15, 29 (11): 963-7

PURPOSE: Appropriate wheelchairs for basic mobility needs are still not commonly available in low-income countries, although several organizations are working toward this goal. After basic mobility is secured it is important to provide more diverse assistive technology to allow people with disabilities to more completely participate in society and live healthy lives. Our goal was to design an affordable sports wheelchair that would allow individuals in low-income countries to participate in basketball.

METHODS: Design requirements established for the sports wheelchair included: removable anti-tippers, adjustable tension backrest, 24'' wheels, adjustable seat dump, variable camber, 4'' casters, fore-aft axle position, removable bumpers, height adjustable footrest, four wheels, single anti-tipper (pivot), cost less than $125 without wheels, 16'' seat width and backrest height, and nylon upholstery. The wheelchair was designed using 3D modeling, standard materials, and standard tools.

DISCUSSION: An affordable wheelchair, versatile enough to be used for a variety of sports and even everyday use, was designed and prototyped successfully. Documentation for the design including step-by-step directions, engineering drawings, and photographs are available at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories website ( Future work on the prototype should include design refinement including adaptations for other sports, and standards testing.

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