|Three-year-old Tanner Jensen and his 20-month-old brother Skyler were both born with a rare genetic condition known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy which means they can’t walk, crawl, control their heads, or even lift their arms. But life for the young brothers will soon be improving thanks to students at Brigham Young University who built the pair a set of tiny affordable electric wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs for younger children already exist, but they can end up costing upwards of $15,000 which many families can’t afford. So five undergraduate mechanical engineering students from BYU’s Engineering Capstone program challenged themselves to build the world’s smallest electric wheelchair for the Jensen brothers.
The chair is made with a PVC frame (strong enough for a child up to 50 pounds or about 6 years old) and is controlled by an armrest-mounted joystick like other chairs. The students produced the chair for under $495, making it likely the world’s least expensive motorized wheelchair—and possibly lightest at just over 20 pounds. [ Brigham Young University ]
+ More >>