Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Emergency evacuation easy with descending wheelchair

11.08.2004


A student has invented a revolutionary evacuation wheelchair that could save lives in emergencies because it has the capability to go down stairs without someone else pushing it.



Health and safety legislation and the Fire Brigade recommend that people do not use lifts to exit buildings during emergencies. However, for people with mobility problems this raises a serious issue as they become dependent on their friends and colleagues to assist their safe escape.

Simon Kingston, who graduated this year with a first class honours degree in Design for Industry from Northumbria University, has come up with a solution to this problem by designing a wheelchair with a tracked roller system at the front to control the chair’s descent and a tri-wheel that allows it to go down each step individually without assistance.


Simon approached staff at the University’s School of Health, Community & Education Studies to find out what equipment was lacking or needed improvement in the health industry. They advised him that, as a result of new government legislation, companies have a responsibility to get disabled people out of buildings safely but initial findings were that people did not want to commit to being responsible for getting another person out of a building using the current wheelchairs that need a secondary operator. As a result Simon came up with his idea for the Multiscape wheelchair.

The chair’s arm lever works in a similar fashion to a ratchet screwdriver which propels the wheelchair down the stairs when it is pushed forward. The wheel system at the front of the chair controls the speed and descent down stairs whilst gears attached to the arm lever and the tri-wheel underneath allow the chair to descend, move along flat ground and turn on the spot, making it ideal for manoeuvring around tight corners on stairwells.

Simon feels that it could easily be adapted to everyday wheelchairs and be made to go up stairs as well which would solve many of the accessibility problems that disabled people face.

Simon said: “I definitely think this could be adapted to a normal wheelchair, I also think it could be made to go upstairs by using either hydraulics or a small motor. The reason I didn’t apply that sort of technology is because there would have been far too much work involved for a final year University project so I thought I would focus on the evacuation aspect."

Carrie Withers, Senior Lecturer for Occupational Therapy in Northumbria’s School of Health Community & Education Studies said: “I think the wheelchair is a really revolutionary idea that could fill a much needed gap in the health service industry to enable escape for disabled people whilst minimising the risk to others.

“I really applaud his initiative and hope that Simon can find a manufacturer for the wheelchair so that it could become available at an affordable price for organisations. His ideas for modifications so it can ascend as well as descend should continue to be explored, as the modern neat design would appeal to a range of wheelchair users.”

The chair has already received interest from disability groups in the North East of England and Simon is hoping to get financial backing to put the chair into production.

Andrea Trainer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.northumbria.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Proteomics and precision medicine
08.02.2016 | University of Iowa Health Care

nachricht Scientists create imaging 'toolkit' to help identify new brain tumor drug targets
02.02.2016 | eLife

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Goodbye ground control: autonomous nanosatellites

The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.

Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...

Im Focus: Flow phenomena on solid surfaces: Physicists highlight key role played by boundary layer velocity

Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.

The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Im Focus: New study: How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...

Im Focus: Superconductivity: footballs with no resistance

Indications of light-induced lossless electricity transmission in fullerenes contribute to the search for superconducting materials for practical applications.

Superconductors have long been confined to niche applications, due to the fact that the highest temperature at which even the best of these materials becomes...

Im Focus: Wbp2 is a novel deafness gene

Researchers at King’s College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom have for the first time demonstrated a direct link between the Wbp2 gene and progressive hearing loss. The scientists report that the loss of Wbp2 expression leads to progressive high-frequency hearing loss in mouse as well as in two clinical cases of children with deafness with no other obvious features. The results are published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

The scientists have shown that hearing impairment is linked to hormonal signalling rather than to hair cell degeneration. Wbp2 is known as a transcriptional...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Travel grants available: Meet the world’s most proficient mathematicians and computer scientists

09.02.2016 | Event News

AKL’16: Experience Laser Technology Live in Europe´s Largest Laser Application Center!

02.02.2016 | Event News

From intelligent knee braces to anti-theft backpacks

26.01.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chemical cages: New technique advances synthetic biology

10.02.2016 | Life Sciences

Engineering researchers use laser to 'weld' neurons

10.02.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones Learn To Search Forest Trails for Lost People

10.02.2016 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>