Hemiplegia is a weakness of one side of the body, affecting 318,000 people in the US. Currently, there lacks an effective method of mobility, besides trying to use one foot to propel and possibly steer a wheelchair. Existing one arm wheelchair drives are not utilized since they are either too complicated to operate or simply do not work, and powered wheelchairs are expensive and require drastic changes in living style. To allow people with hemiplegia to move with ease, our goal is to produce an affordable and durable one arm wheelchair drive attachment capable of being adapted to various manual wheelchairs. The final product design has the user propelling the wheelchair with their strong arm while controlling the direction of the chair either with their strong foot or weak hand. The device is composed of a set of gears and a motor that latches onto and dictates the turning of a caster wheel. The user would send commands to this device with their unaffected foot via a wireless foot pedal. As another option, the user could use a simple joystick with their weak hand, which would also help with rehabilitation if the person gains more strength and fine motor control on the affected hand. We have made several prototypes that have given promising results. With more product iterations, user feedback, and marketability assessment, Allez has a strong potential to touch many lives affected by hemiplegia.
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