Having the best motorized wheelchair can enable you to travel more easily, whether it’s just around your home or local area or a more exotic locale.
Five engineering students at Louisiana State University working on their senior capstone project have been working for a year to create a beach-ready wheelchair for a woman with a neuromuscular disorder.
Electrical engineering majors Blaize Vansickel and Julian Bordelon and mechanical engineer majors Kyle Jordan, Qusai Al Lawati and Brian Tanh began the project in January and will present their finished product before graduation this May.
Cheslyn Simpson, who uses a wheelchair because of a neuromuscular disorder, wrote an essay to the engineering students requesting that they create a wheelchair for her that would help her travel on the beach. According to LSU Now, the team of students has been dedicated to making sure the wheelchair meets Simpson’s needs.
The students said they created three designs at the beginning of the project and after listening to Simpson’s feedback, made adjustments as necessary. Through a process of trial and error, they were able to come up with a design for a wheelchair suited for a sandy environment.
Vansickel said most of the already-available beach wheelchairs were hard to use and heavy, so the team looked at ways to fix those flaws. They wanted to create something sleek and easy to use with smaller wheels than the current available beach wheelchairs. They said their final design resembles a hybrid between a motorized wheelchair and a golf cart.
As their design process comes to a close, the team will conduct safety tests with test crash dummies to ensure the wheelchair is safe for Simpson to use. They hope that after they graduate, future University engineering teams will continue to work with Simpson on modifications and improvements to their design.
The students said they are happy to help Simpson do something she wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.