The purpose of this case was to enable a profoundly disabled child, who uses a bespoke specialist wheel chair, to be taken to new places and benefit from additional positive sensory experiences to improve quality of life. Our client wanted to take their daughter to the beach to enjoy the sound of the sea and experience the feel of water on her feet. Unfortunately as the child is unable to exit her chair, any standard off road wheel chair modifications were not suitable.
The current wheel chair has narrow wheels which “dig” in when on soft ground. This was preventing steering and forward movement and therefore a means of supporting the wheel chair was required to travel over soft uneven ground.
Initial design was to construct a trailer onto which the wheelchair could be placed. Key features included access ramps, tie down points and physical stops to restrain the wheelchair and the ability to dismantle / reduce in size to fit in the family vehicle.
The problem was due to weight distribution, raising the front wheel and pivoting on the rear wheels it was not possible to turn or steer the trolley neither was it possible to skid the trolley to turn.
Experiments using rubber blocks proved the front wheel needed to pivot to enable turning. Again, when being trialled too much weight was on the front wheel to enable it to turn.
Therefore, experiments conducted with bags of gravel to simulate the wheelchair and how long the front steering beam need to be extended to be to reduce the load on the front wheel. Steering arm was then extended.
The whole family can now go to the beach together and their daughter can experience the sensation of sea for the first time.