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All-Terrain Wheelchair Designed for Farmers
New "wheelchair" designed for farmers with disabilities has got big tractor-type drive wheels and two sources of power - a gas engine for outside use and a battery-powered electric motor for indoor use.
Developed by Simplicity Lifts, Inc., a West Lafayette, Ind., firm that builds tractor lifts and other equipment to help disabled farmers keep farming, the new powered chair was designed specifically with farmers in mind. "Conventional wheelchairs don't work in farmyards or fields. This new tri-wheel chair can go virtually anywhere outside and yet is maneuverable enough to work well in barns, shops or other buildings around the farm," says Doug Plummer, company representative.
The new tri-wheel chair has a hydrostatic transmission to provide full power at low speeds over rough terrain and high speeds of up to 6 mph over flat terrain, even when pulling a small utility trailer. Power for the chair is supplied by a gas engine that also charges the chair's batteries. The chair can be battery-operated inside for up to an hour of running time. When operated outside, the gas engine powers the chair and brings the batteries back up to full charge.
A joystick steers the chair. On particularly rough terrain the front wheel assembly can be extended forward to lengthen the wheelbase up to 12 in. by simply pushing a button. The seat turns 360? and is hydraulically powered to lift the rider upward as much as 8 in. for easier access to work-benches or anything else that would other-wise be out of reach.
The new chair is only 39 in. in length and 26 in. wide and it'll turn around on a dime. Both rear wheels are powered and the chair can be fitted with duals, if needed.
"It's the first wheelchair that's truly practical for use all over the farm," says Plummer. The chair sells for $6,500.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Simplicity Lifts, Inc., 345 BurnettRd.,West Lafayette, Ind. 47906 (ph 317 423-4192).

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #6