Four Mechanical Engineering students at IT Sligo have created an ATV disability hoist.
The young entrepreneurs – Darren Walls, Cavan, Adrian Rogers, Co. Cavan, Ciaran Lynch, Westmeath and Matthew Doherty, Donegal – claim that there is no product of this nature for an ATV on the market at present.
The ATV disability hoist, according to its creators, provides full independence to a person who has little or no power in the lower half of their body.
Speaking to That’s Farming, Darren Walls: “The idea for the project is based around a group member’s cousin who suffers from multiple sclerosis and has no power in his legs.”
“He enjoyed going around the farm on the quad which he could fully operate using only his hands.”
“The man’s wife would have to assist him in getting on and off the quad which proved to be a task; we designed the project to give the man full independence.” the student explained.
The students came up with the idea last September; several concept ideas were considered before the innovators began to design the chosen one.
“Design started in November and we had one Thursday per week of the college year to complete the design and fabrication.”
The main chassis is made from steel box section; the group acquired motors and electric rams from old electric wheelchairs and a disability shower hoist; these are used to turn the hoist and lift the back door.
The project features a 2.5m long back door which was necessary to comply with wheelchair regulations, the creators explained. “If the door was too short, the gradient would be too steep to get the wheelchair up onto the trailer.”
How does it work?
The user picks up the control panel which is attached to the frame via a magnet; the user lets the back door down, wheels themselves onto the trailer and close the back door.
They then strap themselves into the harness, lift themselves up and spin themselves around towards the quad, all using the control panel.
“When the user is on the quad, the control panel can be stuck to the bars of the quad via a magnet, so it is with them at all times.”
“The user then uses the quad as they please until they need the wheelchair again which they will tow with them at all times,” Darren added.
The group is seeking feedback from interested parties and are considering showcasing their innovation at the National Ploughing Championships. “We have made a working prototype, so we have only made one.”
“Many farmers have suffered injuries and this product would offer them a new lease of life and independence,” Darren concluded.
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