June 24, 2020


Our Innovative and Life-Changing Solutions

Challenge:  Symmetrical Gravity Activated Wheelchair Brake
University Partner:  Colorado School of Mines
Student Team:  Cammi Benson, Ian Chang, Robert Gambrell, Matt Kinney, Matt Lavengood, Nicolas Phythian, and, Mikaela Salzetti
Faculty Advisor: Donna Bodeau
QL+ Program Manager: Scott Huyvaert

Project Summary:

Our Challenger prefers to use a manual wheelchair as much as possible. He enjoys the outdoors but gets frustrated going down hills. Hand gripping the brake rail on the wheels quickly wears out gloves and makes it difficult to wear them for warmth. Controlled downhill braking is difficult and fatiguing at higher speeds due to asymmetrical grip strength. The Challenger would also like the brakes to automatically prevent the wheelchair from rolling back on a hill when she pauses. The Challenger would also prefer that the brakes be environmentally friendly and not require any type of batteries that may deplete when he travels long distances in his wheelchair. The challenge is to design and build a robust, one-handed downhill wheelchair speed-control device and an automatic anti-rollback brake.

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A Student tending to a Challenger.

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A group of students helps a man by building a walker