1986 - Volume #10, Issue #5, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Wheelchair Walks Up Steep Stairs
Ken Cox, Arlington, Tex., started work on his 10-wheeled chair 8 years ago when he heard about a design contest for a chair that could climb steps. He says there have been other such chairs introduced to the market but none have ever been successful.
Ken's chair is fitted with a "spider" wheel on either side made up of four powered wheels. To climb stairs, you back up to the bottom step until the back 8-in. dia. wheel makes contact. As it does, the wheel just above it swings down on top of the step and walks backward. As it comes in contact with the lip of the next step, the next wheel flips over the top, and so on. As the wheels walk up the steps, the chair reclines back at the angle of the stairway until the chair reaches the top, at which point the chair straightens back into the upright position, riding, on the bottom two small-diameter wheels.
Ken's prototype chair is manually powered via two hand-cranked wheels but he's planning an electric powered production model. It'll be totally gear-driven, with no chains or sprockets, powered by a battery-driven electric motor, controlled by a single joystick and will be able to turn around in a 44-in. wide hallway.
"Wheelchairs haven't changed much since the 1930's. This design overcomes those obstacles that can't be bypassed by ramps or other special construction," says Ken, noting that the chair can also be used to load wheelchair passengers into vans without the aid of a mechanical lift.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ken Cox, Stair Master Wheel Chair Co., 2711 Marquis Circle East, Arlington, Tex. 76016 (ph 817 496-3080).
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