Hybrid Powered Operated Vehicle (HyPoV)

There is a trend of increasing modularity within powered mobility devices (PMDs) motivated by clinicians and end-users requesting more customized and appropriate mobility solutions.  Unfortunately, PMDs (Scooters and Electric Powered Wheelchairs) provide distinct sets of features and non-overlapping performance, severely restricting the benefits that true modularity could provide.  Consequently, and in spite of the clinicians’ and users’ preference, the prescribed device is often inadequate or includes unnecessary and costly features. To address the shortcomings of PMDs, we have developed a Single Motor Propelled Wheelchair (SIMPL-WC) that incorporates a novel drive-train which allows for a true continuum of PMD solutions.  The SIMPL-WC allows the clinician and user to select any combination of features, including steering type (manual/power), user interface, seating functions (powered/unpowered) which can be applied to one underlying device which is low-cost and performs well in all terrains and environments. Novel characteristics of the device which afford increased maneuverability at a low cost include: (1) Independent suspension, which is linked to the drive wheel and proactively increases traction in rough terrain, (2) A single hub-style drive wheel which is lower cost and less complicated compared to PMD drive components, (3) A manual steering system which allows a significantly lower cost controller to be used. The goal of this project is to finalize the design and testing of the SIMPL-WC. In that direction, we are currently preparing for field trials for the device, while concurrently designing and developing powered seating and powered steering (using a joystick instead of the mechanical tiller) upgrades.