Wheelchair users often must use the road instead of the sidewalk due to poorly maintained or non- existent safe pedestrian infrastructure. Our client uses the sidewalks to move, and at night they can not see where they are going and their wheelchair is too low to the ground for other cars to see.
Create a lighting system for wheelchairs to better illuminate them. The device includes lights for both the front and back of the wheelchair which are controlled with their accessible buttons.
We did a lot of background research, market analysis and received feedback from our client before formulating our designs. We created a requirement matrix (below) to compare our final version with the competitors. Our main requirements looked at durability, waterproofness and ease of use and maintenance because of the battery and Arduino involved. Our client also wanted a two-lighting system, meaning headlights and tail lights. We then created our first three prototypes (as seen below to the right). We initially wanted to 3D print the boxes used to encase the lights, however thick acrylic proved to be more durable in our design studies. Our first prototype was too large and the second prototype used magnets to close the boxes which was not durable enough.
Our current design prototype uses designs and lights from our designs meant for behind and under the armrest of a wheelchair. These designs have various strengths as opposed to the others, as they have practical assembly methods, maintenance methods, and are durable for differing weather conditions. To give an overview of our design components, there are two main components to the centralized wheelchair visibility system. First, there is a back box with red LEDs. They can be controlled through a remote. Second, there are two flashlight boxes for the front that are mounted and outward facing. These are meant to illuminate the front. The remote uses a microcontroller and infrared sensors and receivers. In the future, we want to add a remote control system for the flashlights under the arm rest, and we hope to achieve this using battery interrupters.