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 A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>