Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Battelle - The Business of Innovation

Fulbright recipient to lead testing of 100 chairs across Indian terrain

Boston – Battelle India is providing funding for the development, testing and dissemination of a revolutionary new wheelchair invented by a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Amos Winter, who first worked with Battelle to help develop the Bluefin autonomous underwater vehicle design, has invented the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) at MIT’s Mobility Lab (M-Lab). In India, he will continue his work under a Fulbright Scholarship during the 2010-2011 academic year, collaborating with IIT Delhi and Jaipur Foot. IIT Delhi, or the Indian Institute of Technology, is a center for research, training, and development in science, engineering and technology. Jaipur Foot is the largest disability group in the world.

The LFC is an all-terrain wheelchair designed specifically for use in developing countries. It has a special drivetrain that is faster than conventional wheelchairs and can operate efficiently off-road. The competitively priced LFC transforms into a normal wheelchair for indoor use. All moving parts on the chair are made from bicycle components and it can be manufactured or repaired anywhere in the world.

A mechanical engineer who draws on expertise in designs that mimic nature, Winter said he looks forward to helping people with disabilities. “Jaipur Foot will be a great partner since they already give out a lot of assistance devices and have satellite offices set up around the world,” he said. “We will get to try the chair out in all different environments.”

The project will include tailoring the LFC design for the Indian market, testing 100 chairs in five geographically distinct regions of the country, and ramping up local production.

The LFC Indian project follows successful development and trials of the chair in Africa and Central America, funded by organizations including the Inter-American Development Bank, the Clinton Global Initiative, and MIT. The LFC won first place in the 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers Innovation Showcase.

Winter also is known for his “Roboclam” research which involved studying the anchoring abilities of razor clams and trying to incorporate those capabilities into undersea technology.

For more information on the LFC, visit http://mlab.mit.edu/ and www.amoswinter.com.


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