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Simulation and laboratory studies of a stairclimbing wheelchair as an element of disabled people-oriented means of transport

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Abstract: On the market there are only a few offers of wheelchairs combining their motor function with the function of surmounting physical obstructions and ascending or descending stairs. Their prices are comparable to those of luxury cars. There are also few research papers concerning the dynamics of wheelchairs. Definitely too few considering the social demand for vehicles of this type. The authors of this paper are convinced that it is one of the first papers in the world dealing, in a comprehensive way, with wheelchairs. It presents the design process using CAx techniques together with the prototype construction and verification/validation studies conducted on the prototype.
The conditions of the contemporary civilization require a broadly-understood improvement and facilitation of citizens’ everyday existence, creating thereby a new quality of life for each individual. At the same time, the present-day dynamic development generates grave dangers to the life and health of man. The advance in motor transport, civilization diseases and wars are just a few of the possible examples. They often lead to death or permanent disability, including the disability affecting human motor function.
There is another essential aspect which should be mentioned here as well; namely, the general process of the ageing of societies. What has recently become a social problem is the full participation in life of the elderly, who are no longer involved in the production process, often suffering from dysfunctions of the motor system. The elderly, on the other hand, often isolate themselves from social and professional life because of obstacles that seem insignificant and unnoticeable to the healthy part of the population. These problems inspired us to tackle the issue of the construction of technically advanced, cheap vehicles intended for people with motor system impairment.
One of the most important features of the new design of a wheelchair is its ability to surmount physical obstructions that may appear in the way. The adjective “mechatronic” used in the title of this paper is connected with the fact that the wheelchair will be equipped with integrated steering systems allowing for surmounting obstructions, e.g. a threshold or stairs. The basic requirements for wheelchairs of this type are as follows:
• To enable the wheelchair to move along various kinds of surfaces (e.g. uneven surface, sand, snow, etc. (...)

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Źródło: Czasopismo Logistyka

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