Wheelchair Shopping Aid

Designers: Geoffrey Yih, Madison Li and Jason Kim
Supervising Professor: Larry Bohs

Individuals in manual wheelchairs often have trouble grocery shopping because they find it difficult to move a shopping cart while wheeling their chairs. The goal of this project was to develop an easily attachable shopping aid that provides a stable location for groceries. The shopping aid resembles a hand-held shopping basket that is stably fixed to the front of the wheelchair. The Wheelchair Shopping Aid quickly attaches to the wheelchair’s frame and the detachable grocery basket folds for compact storage. The device gives the shopper easy access to groceries and allows them to use their own wheelchair.

The Wheelchair Shopping Aid enables our client to shop freely and ergonomically. Since he is an active, independent individual, this device will give him a shopping method that allows him the same level of independence he has when completing other common tasks. The client says, “This shopping aid will allow me to shop much more efficiently, quickly and with less frustration than the typical shopping experience of a wheelchair user. This is a great step toward greater independence. ”

The Wheelchair Shopping Aid (Figure 1) includes a shopping basket, a basket tray, and two frame clamps. The collapsible basket is a commercially available product from Garnet Hill. It has a sturdy, lightweight aluminum frame and a rubber-cushioned handle that makes it ideal for grocery shopping. The basket material is durable polyester, which is held to the frame with Velcro straps. The Velcro straps also wrap around the handles of a commercial, wire-mesh shower tote (not shown), which allow the tote to attach inside the basket as a compartment is to hold fruits and other delicate groceries. The collapsible basket folds flat for compact storage once the plastic side stabilizers are removed.

The rectangular basket tray is constructed from ½” thick high-density polyethylene. Five 0.8” diameter holes are drilled into the tray, which serve as receptacles for the plastic pegs on the bottom of the collapsible basket. The peg holes prevent the shopping basket from sliding off the surface. For added stability, two Velcro strips sewn to the bottom of the basket attach to mating strips on the tray to prevent the basket from tipping. Two steel T-hinges are attached to the bottom of the basket tray. Screwed onto the long arm of these hinges are ½” diameter aluminum support rods, which insert into frame clamps. The hinges allow the support rods to fold up for compact storage.

The aluminum frame clamps consist of two components that tighten around the wheelchair frame using two brass knob screws. Vertical holes in the clamps with diameters of ½” provide mounting locations for the support rods. Figure 2 shows the client using the device. The replacement cost for the device is approximately $130.

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