Research to help disabled people into cars

16 April 2013

Research by the University of Canterbury could significantly help disabled people all over the world transfer more safely and easily from their wheelchairs into their cars.

Research to help disabled people into cars - Imported from Legacy News system

Research by the University of Canterbury could significantly help disabled people all over the world transfer more safely and easily from their wheelchairs into their cars.

A UC mechanical engineering research team, supervised by Associate Professor Keith Alexander, has built two prototype transfer aids that are more stable and cost effective.

Research team spokeswoman Anna Whillis said they found that main issues that faced disabled drivers were insecurity when transferring between their wheelchair and their car seat.

"Options available for these drivers ranged from fully supporting hoists which were both bulky and expensive to basic wooden boards which were inexpensive but were not secured and could slip. We provided the research for mobility manufacturing company Abiliquip,’’ Whillis said.

Abiliquip wanted a design to allow for an inexpensive yet supportive transfer aid. Abiliquip chief executive Greg Ewing said the research by the UC team was extremely helpful.

"Involving mechanical engineering students on this project allowed a wider analysis of options for this product opportunity. With a combination of their efforts and our experience in the disabled products sector, a design concept was created that will be the basis of an innovative new product.

"This product will have significant potential and benefit for people in wheelchairs all over the world and provide significant export revenues for our growing company.

"Abiliquip appreciates students and universities need real-life projects that challenge and forge links with local industry and this project was a great example of that at work,’’ Ewing said.

The UC researchers assessed possible mounting positions for the aids. They produced conceptual designs for alternative mounting methods to limit vehicle alterations, Whillis said.

"We also provided two alternative prototypes at the end of the project along with recommendations for adaptions and a design library of around 40 conceptual designs. We also provided suggestions for further research projects.’’ 

The project was carried out by mechanical engineering students Kevin Anderson, Sweet Yee Chan, Mohamad Samad and Anna Whillis, who graduating from UC this week along with a total of 1158 students who are graduating in person and another 80 graduating in absentia. 

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz