Sometimes, do you wonder how come something that seemed so simple and yet effective was thought up by another person instead of you? Case in point – wheelchairs. Scott Daigle, a graduate engineering student at the University of Illinois, took the road less traveled when it realized that the average wheelchair lacked a gear system, so he decided to go and build one himself.
Known as the IntelliWheels AGS, this wheelchair shifting system will offer the convenience of gear changing to wheelchair users, something that cyclists have long taken for granted. It will be different from your average 10-speed bicycle though, since IntelliWheels will be an automated system which is smart enough to respond to just how the wheelchair is being pushed by the user, where it will respond back by shifting gears in order to maximize performance:
There are sensors located at the bottom of the wheelchair to help it analyze torque, speed and tilt so that it knows just how hard the wheelchair user is pushing, the speed of said user as well as the slope it is “riding” on before coughing out the best gear to use at the moment. Meant for hill climbing purposes, the best thing is the IntelliWheels AGS is fully automatic, so you need not change the way you use your wheelchair. A prototype could be out as early as next year, so stay tuned!