The Leveraged Freedom ChairUsing science, engineering, and stakeholder-driven design to reinvent the wheelchair in the developing world.
Curator’s Pick: “How do you make a mountain bike for your arms that doesn’t have the mountain bike cost and complexity?”
In the developing world, rough roads and muddy walking paths often provide the only access to education, employment, and community but are impassable in a conventional wheelchair. The Leverage Freedom Chair (LFC) was invented to surmount this challenge. Like an arm-powered mountain bike, its variable mechanical advantage lever drivetrain optimally converts upper body power to propulsion, enabling wheelchair users to travel fast and efficiently on a wide variety of terrains. Every moving part on the LFC is made from bicycle components, making the chair cost under $200 and be repairable anywhere in the developing world.
Amos Winter’s research focuses on the marriage of mechanical design theory and user-centered product design to create simple, elegant technological solutions for use in highly constrained environments. His work includes design for emerging markets and developing countries, biomimetic design, fluid/solid/granular mechanics, biomechanics, and the design of ocean systems. Dr. Winter is the principal inventor of the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), an all-terrain wheelchair designed for developing countries that was a winner of a 2010 R&D 100 award and was named one of the Wall Street Journal’s top innovations in 2011. His Ph.D. work focused on adapting the burrowing mechanisms of razor clams to create compact, low power, and reversible burrowing systems for subsea applications such as anchoring, oil recovery, and cable installation. Dr. Winter is a founder of Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT). He was the recipient of the 2010 Tufts University Young Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award.
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