P16007: Motor-Assisted Wheelchair

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Project Summary

Currently our end user is confined to a manual wheelchair. Owing to the fact that it is not powered or assisted in any way, she feels a loss of independence due to relying on a secondary pusher and staying primarily in flat areas. Even slight inclines pose a significant challenge on her own, and as such we are looking to implement a supplemental power solution.

Current renditions of driven wheelchairs involve custom builds, which are highly expensive and heavily strain the daily performance of the impaired party. In our case, the customer would prefer the option to maintain her independence if desired. Ideally, rather than a completely driven wheelchair, this project will research and launch an assisted wheelchair prototype. The end result will aid users and facilitators while minimizing customer upkeep.

In a manual wheelchair the user or facilitator must spend additional physical energy to maintain control of the wheelchair when traversing an incline. An assisted wheelchair supports the user in everyday use of the wheelchair, giving the operator options to utilize supplemental power. A driven wheelchair completely eliminates the need for a facilitator as the user is in complete control. However, the use of a driven wheelchair has significant cost and can result in muscle atrophy or weakness of the user due to inactivity. A fully driven wheelchair is not the most desirable solution when the user does not have access to a wheelchair-supported vehicle and/or wants to utilize upper body strength. Therefore, the assistance should not impact the manual usage of the wheelchair. The design must satisfy these requirements while avoiding the excessive price and inconvenience associated with a fully driven wheelchair.

The goal of this project is to engineer an assisted wheelchair. For the first semester of this project, the group will be dealing with customer requirements, engineering conditions, and coming up with a sound theory/solution. The actual prototype will be built and showcased in the second semester.

Project Deliverables

The objective of this project is to produce a working prototype assist device which can be added to a standard manual wheelchair.

Deliverables include

Use Cases

Scenario 1


Scenario 2


Scenario 3


Scenario 4


Customer Requirements (Needs)


Current Revision: 9

Revision Date: 09/28/2015

Live Document

Past Versions

Engineering Requirements (Metrics & Specifications)


Current Revision: 6

Revision Date: 10/15/2015

Live Document

Past Versions


House of Quality


Current Revision: 3

Revision Date: 09/28/2015

Live Document

Past Versions


public/Problem%20Definition%20Documents/Benchmarking/Overall Benchmarking.jpg

Current Revision: 2

Revision Date: 10/01/2015

Live Document

Past Versions

Risk Analysis


Design Review Materials

Plans for next phase

Team Vision for Next Phase

Individual Plan

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

Problem Definition | Systems Design | Subsystem Design | Preliminary Detailed Design | Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep | Subsystem Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test | Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo | Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation