Persons with disabilities in developing countries often lack the basic equipment needed to assist them in their daily lives. International Nepal Fellowship (INF) is a Christian medical organization located in Nepal that provides medical care and assistance to people with disabilities and other conditions. Currently, INF imports expensive wheelchairs that undergo a prolonged border process before being received by INF. INF has reached out to the Collaboratory to design a wheelchair that can withstand the challenges of Nepal’s terrain and can be manufactured from local materials. The Nepal Wheelchair team accepted this challenge and set out to design a wheelchair that can fulfill the needs of INF. The team began by researching wheelchair models for inspiration and eventually settled on two preliminary designs. In January 2020, the team traveled to Pokhara, Nepal to gain feedback from the staff at INF and select a final design based on their comments. During this trip, the team acquired and brought back locally available materials and parts in order to be able to construct a prototype using materials which are actually available in Nepal. After returning, the team began performing Finite Element Analysis on the frame design and tested the steel from the trip to determine its physical properties. With prototyping progress stalled by recent events, the team is focusing on perfecting the design and preparing an instruction manual for INF.
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Crosley, Harrison J.; Vollert, Alexander M.; Bender, Cade K.; Derstine, Dylan J.; and Hopkins, Peter C., "Designing a Locally Manufacturable Wheelchair for Nepal" (2020). 2020 Collaboratory/Engineering Symposium. 17.