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Cycling, Open Hardware, Technology

Freedom to roam

A few weeks ago I wrote about some amazing pedal powered machines from Low Tech Magazine.

Engineers and not for profits had used bicycle-based technology to create useful machines to help people in the developing world.

This project – the Leveraged Freedom Chair – is based on a similar idea. MIT Masters student Amos Winter came up with the idea while working in Africa.

He realised that conventional wheelchairs prevented people from travelling over rough or muddy terrain, which limited their options when it came to securing work or even visiting friends and family.

Some wheelchair users relied on hand-pedal tricycles to get around, but they couldn’t use these in the home as they were too big.

Amos’ solution was to create a wheelchair which allowed the user to supply additional power when needed.

It works by fitting two conventional bicycle drive trains to either side of the chair. When the user needs additional ‘oomph’ they place two levers into a fitting above the drive train, the user drives the chair forward by using the levers. You can see it in action here.

to find out more about the chair and the LFC project – check out the website

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