Wheelchairs are extensively used by disabled people to enhance their personal mobility. One of the basic problems of user on manual wheelchair is overcoming architectural barriers like kerbs,stairs etc. on its way.

Vardaan facilitates climbing up and down the stairs by using an innovative ‘Y’ shaped wheel that provides better grip and optimum braking along with a ratchet and a braking system. The ‘Y’ shaped wheel has been designed to mimic the human gait while climbing up. For climbing up the user pulls and pushes the lever ratchet attached on the axle of the Y shaped wheel. The design makes use of the fact that people with lower limb disability have high upper body strength and therefore pulling/pushing the ratchet lever can be conveniently operated by them. While during the climbing down the user can use brakes to control the motion of the wheelchair as the ‘Y’ shaped wheel rolls down the steps.

The braking system along with the ‘Y’ shaped wheel is likely to make the wheelchair a safe solution for climbing stairs for the user. The initial prototype has been tested under various circumstances like step sizes of stairs, people with different weight (58 kg-89kg) and it has shown satisfactory results. The wheelchair can navigate stairs with 350-230 mm width and step heights from 110-185 mm. As per National Building Code Specifications for step sizes of staircase of public building VARDAAN can climb all the public stairs.

The project received Gandhian Young Technology Awards in April, 2012.

Shanu Sharma, IIT Kanpur
Project Guides: Dr. J Ramkumar, Dr. Satyaki Roy

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