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Off-Road Wheelchairs - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Off-Road Wheelchairs
Recently I got to thinking about how most wheelchairs, even sport models, aren't effective outside relatively even surfaces. Or even on them, in many cases.  It turns out there are a few other options ...

Here's a very inexpensive wheelchair that uses leverage to navigate over rough terrain.

This handpowered trike is based on mountain bike technology.  It's lower-slung than most wheelchairs, which is a plus.  If I were designing an off-road chair, I think I'd trade height for stability, and arrange the seat for legs straight out rather than knees bent.

The six-wheel drive electrical wheelchair has all-terrain capacity.

The trackchair has tank treads.  Fuckin' awesome.

I woke up thinking about space exploration and adaptive equipment.  Hexbots with six wheels, antbots with six legs, designed to cope with hostile terrain.  So far the closest I've found has been this wheelchair that climbs stairs.  I think a six-legged chair has potential.  I also remembered these cooperative robots, who link together to scale obstacles none of them could master alone.  Imagine a set of wheelchairs that could hook together and do that.  I bet some disabled folks would love to join a hiking team like that.

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9 comments or Leave a comment
pickledginger From: pickledginger Date: June 28th, 2013 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Some nifty.ideas!
paka From: paka Date: June 28th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Six-legged robot chairs would be AWESOMELY creepy.
siege From: siege Date: June 28th, 2013 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you've seen the modern film adaptation of The Wild Wild West, this comment reminds me of the scene where the movie's villain gets out of his newly-unusable steam powered wheelchair, revealing a previously-hidden maneuverability solution (while commenting on the true extent of his physical damage).
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: June 28th, 2013 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)


I don't think I've seen that, but it sounds cool.
lb_lee From: lb_lee Date: June 29th, 2013 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

Don't see that movie unless you like train wrecks! It is INCREDIBAD.

siege From: siege Date: June 29th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Hmm...

I had fun, but I'm a fan of cheesy movies and really liked the original show. Also, I didn't watch in the theater.

I will acknowledge that while some stereotypes are played with (James West as a black man, for instance), others are presented unquestioningly, and the Wild Wild West movie is definitely meant to be a comedic steampunk adventure instead of "James Bond in the Old West".
siege From: siege Date: June 28th, 2013 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
If I were designing an off-road chair, I think I'd trade height for stability, and arrange the seat for legs straight out rather than knees bent.

I wonder if the knees-bent configuration has to do with center of gravity? I do know that while legs out might create more stability along that axis, it would tend to cut into maneuverability; the longer your "nose", the more stuff you have to sling around (and not hit obstacles with) in order to turn.
cat_sanctuary From: cat_sanctuary Date: June 30th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Intriguing possibilities...
draggon_flye From: draggon_flye Date: July 3rd, 2013 01:45 pm (UTC) (Link)


These are soo cool. I love the idea of combining assistive technology, like wheelchairs with robot tech. The trick would be making them simple enough that a wheelchair vendor service tech could assemble since wheelchairs are typically shipped in boxes in pieces. My own wheelchair service guy compares it to assembling a complex swing set.
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