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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. 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 their needs. 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 available in Nepal in order to construct a prototype. This year, prototyping has been completed for the following elements: the central frame, wheel lock, footrest, wheel mounting assemblies and armrest fixtures. As a result of knowledge gained during prototyping, some design changes to the wheelchair have been made. Moving forward, the team will test the overall prototype for durability and prepare a manufacturing manual for INF.
Messiah University, Messiah College, Engineer, community, service
Barnes, Ethan M.; Hauger, Levi D.; Bender, Cade K.; Crosley, Harrison J.; Harro, Riley; Holley, Joshua J.; Hopkins, Peter C.; and Van Dyke, Timothy J., "Designing a Locally Manufacturable Wheelchair for Nepal" (2021). 2021 Collaboratory/Engineering Symposium. 9.