Amos Winter: The cheap all-terrain wheelchair

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How do you build a wheelchair ready to blaze through mud and sand, all for under $200? MIT engineer Amos Winter guides us through the mechanics of an all-terrain wheelchair that’s cheap and easy to build — for true accessibility — and gives us some lessons he learned along the road.

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42 COMMENTS

  1. We live in a rural area right here in the US. The low end end chair would be great, we have no public transportation out her. The terrain is rugged, no sidewalks. Charity begins at home, or it is supposed to.

  2. before you post something like this you should place words like "geared to high-end buyers" or "not for low or middle-class people" I could have saved myself 10 minutes by NOT reading.

  3. ANOTHER APPROACH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmyM7xYZL4Y Got Mongoose BMX wheels installed on it, 2 1/4 inch pneumatic tires. Now I can just ride off a 4 inch curb, don't need to stop to let the wheels down. And going up that same 4 inch curb, huge improvement. No struggle, just pull and up it comes.

    Going uphill, still the same problem as with a conventional wheelchair. Am planning to add a small motor, about 60 watts geared 'way down. Uphill doesn't have to be fast, it just has to happen.

    I don't like the steering geometry, although it does work. Next one I'm building will have about 2 inches of trail (caster) and a slightly negative steering angle to provide stability without making rear wheel steering difficult. I'll look all wrong but two rear wheel steering requires different steering geometry compared to a bicycle.

  4. My TiLite Aero Z wheelchair plus the Freewheel attachment in the US cost $5,600. It’s my lifeline but dang expensive. I utilize my local bike shops and hardware store for everything except special accessories not for bicycles. It’s a great resource

  5. Dear Ted,Hi, your Project of affordable Wheel Chairs is marvalous.i am impressed. I am from Pakistan (Islamabad). I would like to make these for the Poor People in Pakistan. Being an mech engineer myself, i am doing some work on this. would you like an Association so that we can collaborate and build these in Pakistan. i have a Hyd press and lathe as well as connected equipment. please Send e-mail ; sureself1134.gmail.com Sheikh Asif Rashid

  6. But the persons who are shown here driving that gadget l can see his big muskels! You know that so much muskle l don't have and many of us don't have or will ever have! My shoulders are "frozen shoulders" and they can't made being ok again my doctors told me. 2nd There is a big wheel in front. If l only hat one of them, l would be able to manage rough terrain! And 3rd the price: l've heard that here in Germany the gadget is so much more in kosts! There are about 2000€ to pay, that's 10 times more! 4th.: the man in the first film had a O2 – mask, the man at last didn't need any. Why? That isn't the same condition and so you can't compair this!!! That's not fair! Absollutely not!

  7. And the last person who opened a shop first had a O2 – mask on his face and later on his lungs seemed to be fully healthy! How could this be? Are there two different persons to be seen?

  8. And what if the arms can't move it? Disabled people who are in need to use a wheely do not all have powerful arms or can train them to be some day! I've two "frozen shoulders after several OPs and now l'd like to get a Wheely to go out alene to buy my things and to do my stuff! But all l got was a 18 kg – manual wheely and l just can puck it in my car to ask s.o.to drive me to the point l have to be to buy my weekly things. I'd like to be able to do it on myself! People who aren't disable often think – and they don't mean it bad – that we have to be content with little updates. BUT we only wanna do the things we did bevore or, if born disabled, what other people can do without thinking! If l go out l must clear all things bevore as: time to bring my wheely in/out of car, to have enough power to do so, place that all the stuff needs in my or other's car, to have enough money to give presents to all people helping me ( l love to give presents but if l only could walk on my own feet l just could use my feet and it were done. I allways have to say thank you for so many people, that l often think on myself that it feels as if l were a 2nd – class – human. Please and thank you are my most spoken words a day and most words l hear are: wait, not yet, perhaps next week or: ask another one. Or: NO. I only wanna life free and wheeled-bountd l'm not free in any way! So l need a wheely whichIS my legs whole day! I can't change my wheely twice or more a day depending on what l wanna do! There ARE wheelies who could be my legs but disabled people don't get the best to compensate my failing legs or muekles or s.th.else, we get the minimum that costs low and helps only very low . So, please, develop wheelies or functions to be abled to be built in OUR Wheelies, to be given to nearly everyone and not to cost in ilndia 200 SS and in the US 3000 SS and in Germany it can't be found or isn't to send! We don't wanna feel like an applicant! Nnoone of us is freely a diabled person, it wasn't our choice and it's not the credit of anyone that they can use their healthy bodies (l'm happy with that for you) and we don't !

  9. Oh i am an "engineer" any one could do this you don't need to be an "engineer "to do this at all , all engineers do is talk a lot of BS……………. but they think they are better than everyone else

  10. this is great! Ive been trying to find something for my dad who is hemiplegic and 6' 2". He is 260lbs also. How could he propel both wheels with on arm? thanks

  11. Those “levers” look retarded and extremely difficult to use. A person will develop shoulders injuries very quickly. Just dumb

  12. This is for those gave thumbs down or put negative comments, this guy is smarter than you can ever be and you don't even realise that….

  13. I noticed everyone in the demo were men and they seemed to put out a lot of effort. I don't see this device as practical for users with limited arm strength or those with breathing issues. Good first try though.

  14. Why doesn't MIT and the other mechanical engineering heavyweights lobby and support cheaper highend products for the American disabled community? Now that would REALLY be true innovation — affordable high end wheelchairs FOR ALL.

  15. I hope your business goes out of business and you are judged before God. Everyone in America is not high end buyers. Most people needing this are on a disability income of around 1100.00 more or less a month. What you are saying you only cater to the 1% of America. Go back to my first sentence.

  16. This presenter, his mama paid for his college n lived in a mansion n all his neighbor r rich n hv no needs. Snap out of this damn notion, help ur poor wheelchair Americans! There's need in Anerica, lots of it. Fakenews of course won't show the needs in America!

  17. So Many Are Not Able To Use This Type Of Wheel Chair, We Need A Power Chair Usable Indoor And Out-Door Terrain. We Would Love To Get Outside Enjoy Life Too. There Are A Lot Of Very Low Income Disabled In The US, UK Including All Parts Of The World, Don't Forget Your Neighbor In Your Own Back Yard… I Believe In Helping All; But There Are So Many That Are Forgotten, Your Neighbor Right Here In The US Too…

  18. 3K for the US is BS. They could import them flat and sell them as kits, Anyone can learn to weld or find someone who can, and mail order parts as needed, my guess is they already leased the market out.

  19. ive used a wheelchair like this before back when i was 16, im 25 now <_< it was a prototype, for someone called andy, i cant remember the name of the company he was running but the levers were not removeable but insted to put them away you push them all the way down and then they lock, and then on the wheel was a little flip i dont know how it exactly worked but it switched it from manual lever mode to hands on wheel mode, it was a bad chair design and nearly killed myself with it, then he refused to pay me for my work -.- so my dad threw the chair at him, and told him to fook off, altho at the time i was mixed feeling about it. it wasent a bad idea to me, then but now, i think honestly its not practical at all. gochairs or something <— not sure

  20. And now 6 years later, what happened to this wonder wheelchair ? My guess – huge failure. Ratcheting levers contraption to propel the chair is very silly, say the least. Its more expensive, complicated, heavier and according to real mechanics -slower. I think that guy just wanted a free trip to Africa.

  21. Not a very smart invention Mr. MIT. You can't bench-press for 5km, you'll pass out after 200 meters. A smart invention is a power-chair over a hoverboard-style motorized transporter rechargeable by solar chargers. By the way, half of the disabled don't have strong or even working fingers.

  22. What we need is a $200 wheelchair right here in America. Why can't this chair be made available, as it, in the U.S.A.?

  23. I WAS excited when I saw tis because I've discussed with a buddy chair bound how expensive chairs are and they insurance doesn't often cover them. When I heard USA and Europe  high end buyer I figured $500 -800 but 3K and up screw that. Sadly great concept but it seems as if the greed of $$ over rode the desire for an affordable chair. Don't worry though a little time in the workshop and I can make one for nothing. If truly affordable I would have picked one up but naaah. Honestly if you could bring your price to truly ( AFFORDABLE ) under a grand say you'd most likely double or triple your sales and up your profits.

  24. This is a great bike. I am sadden most people that are disabled do not have the means to afford this chair.
    When I saw this chair I was overwhelmed this is a chair for me , until I saw the price tag. Why is it that we in the USA &;Europe have only the high end chair to choose from.
    I admire what you are doing for the third world countries, giving individuals independence.
    Yet why is it you cannot find materials that would allow us to afford your product.

  25. It does seem strange when you consider that mass produced Wheelchairs are selling at Walmart and Walgreens $150 (similar to the price of a China-made entry level bicycle) yet this $200 wheelchair lists for $4500 and up here in the USA. I get that the USA versions must fold up and fit in a car trunk but the difference seems excessive. Maybe give the patent away for free to any company that will produce it well for under $500 usd. My 2 cents.

  26. ….live in the USA? AHA, you are assessed the 'first world' penalty. An affordable wheelchair is high luxury to Americans and priced so that insurance people want in… need their cut.

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