Tarek Midani, Devin Bonner
The number of people who use power wheelchairs is growing at a rate of 19.2% annually. With this growing population becomes the need to conveniently stay dry during rainy conditions. There currently is not a weather protection solution for wheelchair users with limited hand dexterity that provides full coverage. The purpose of our project is to design an umbrella that satisfies these requirements and allows the user increased independence. Current solutions include clothing options, attachable canopies, and other umbrella options. However, there was still a gap in the market for a device that is automatically deployable/retractable. By providing our client with as many options and examples as we could, we then compared them against one another and the above criteria to zero in on a possible solution.
The design consists of an automatically deployable canopy, attached to the rear of the chair, that projects upward into position, and then deploys into a bubble shape covering the user and the controllers. The device controller is easy to use to deploy or retract the umbrella and does not require upper dexterity or strength. Our product would be a Class I device and will be registered with the FDA. Our goal is to create something that gives power wheelchair users the ease of use that they need while keeping cost to a minimum for power wheelchair users and medical device companies who may also purchase our product.