Minnesota YouTuber Shane Burcaw is teaming up with engineering students at St. Thomas University and a nonprofit to create a winter-friendly wheelchair that won’t slip on ice or snow. Shane was born with spinal muscular atrophy and has used a wheelchair since he was two and came up with the idea after a serious crash last winter.
The problem is that wheelchairs are used year-round, but they’re not designed to keep them from spinning or lacking in winter conditions. That’s what happened to Shane last winter when his chair spun out of control, flipping him off a ramp head-first with the 400-pound wheelchair landing on him. He says there are no snow tires for wheelchairs, so the solution is staying in, but he doesn’t want the weather to keep him from his active lifestyle.
So he’s working with the engineering students to create something like an anti-roll bar that will keep the wheelchair from flipping forward. They’re also adding anti-slip technology to the wheelchair and a prototype is expected to be finished within a month. The nonprofit Unique Innovations 4 Unique Challenges is funding the project, but the students will retain intellectual property rights for their design and what they do with them when the project wraps up is up to them.