Update from Guatemala: Leveraged Freedom Chair Project

I wanted to take a minute and update you on our progress this summer, collaborating with Transitions Foundation of Guatemala to produce and test a new and improved version of the LFC. Most of you know that our last chair was tested in East Africa from Aug. 2009 to Jan. 2010. Feedback from that trial, along with innumerable insights from our collaborators at Transitions, APDK, Whirlwind, and beyond, were used to create our new design.

The new LFC is 20lbs lighter than our previous version, weighing in at 46lbs with levers and drivetrain. It is three inches narrower and two inches shorter. This new size and weight are comparable to other wheelchairs made in developing countries. Other new features include: a back pad to support reaction forces at the users's shoulders while pushing on the levers, which is particularly important for people with compromised abdominal strength; shorter levers by 20cm, which reflect the actual usage range for most people and allow for the levers to be stored on the sides of the chair frame when removed; a lower gear ratio chain drive and smaller rear wheels, which account for a 20% increase in low-end torque; lowered rider center of gravity by four inches, making the chair more stable on hills; and quick-release rear wheels for ease of transport.