Amos Winter, PhD Candidate in Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is designed to fully suit the needs of people with disabilities in developing countries by utilizing upper body power through a lever-drive system. The drive train, which is made from locally available bicycle components, enables the user to select different gear ratios by sliding his or her hand up and down the levelers. When not in use, the levers stow away to allow the LFC to be used as a conventional wheelchair. This operational flexibility should make the LFC usable on any terrain, from rural walking paths to tight indoor confines, and greatly increase the mobility of people with disabilities in developing countries. The LFC is currently undergoing a four-month trial in East Africa with users from varying geographic regions and demographics.
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