This project deals with lack of wheelchair control on inclined roads and paths. With current wheelchair designs, both significant braking and one-handed pushing compensation is required to maintain a straight trajectory, causing much wasted energy and lowered efficiency. My design, inspired by a local wheelchair user (and antique wicker wheelchairs as shown to the right), involves a steering handle that is attached to the front caster. [All prototyping was done on the Freedom Leverage Chair, a developing world focused off road wheelchair.] Furthermore, the handle can be flipped around and fitted with a pulling attachment to provide a convenient and sturdy way to pull the wheelchair. (Such operation is more desirable in the developing world where wheelchair users are less likely to be traveling alone.)
Starting out with a basic prototype, feedback from community users has been positive and I have iterated the design a few times. while the original prototype was securely fixed to the wheel-axil, the new design allows the handle to be easily detached and stored. Furthermore, as per request from the local wheelchair community, a front caster braking system has been integrated into the design.