Motorized wheelchairs are expensive and, for those who aren’t able to pay for their purchase, moving to and from the house is difficult. This is the reason why Wesley Gardner from element14 Presents to create a set of modifications to wheelchairs that could enhance the mobility of a person.
Gardner started by creating some CAD components that would mount the battery. He also designed an electronic enclosure, and a range of clamps to attach tube of stainless steel on the back to attach to the wheelchair. Then, he installed the crossmembers underneath the chair to hold the lead-acid 12V battery to the chair. Three additional tubes were connected vertically to the back of the wheelchair as to support the stepper motors to the wheels, which turn them by friction.
controlling the stepper motors was accomplished using two L298N full H-bridge motor controllers, and the two drivers were connected to an Arduino Uno that generates the proper order of the steps. A single joystick attached to the armrest of the chair sends out signals to both microcontrollers, which dictate how the wheels are supposed to rotate. Then, a simple 12V float charger is connected using a three-pin XLR connector to quickly charge the battery.
To witness this project in action and for more information take a look at Gardner’s video below.
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