As part of the Impact Residency program at Pier 9, it is my goal to mass produce products that make a measurable impact on the world. My company, IntelliWheels, Inc. will then take those products and make them available to wheelchair users all around the world through our traditional distribution channels.
People who use wheelchairs often times use a product called a transfer board in order to help them transfer in and out of their wheelchair. Transfer boards are simple devices usually made from wood, and they cost about $50-$80 for a good one. Unfortunately, transfer boards are normally not covered by insurance, and $50 can be a big investment for someone on a fixed income. Therefore, we decided to see if we could make one lighter weight and lower cost by using a plastic injection molding process. We expect to be able to manufacture a $20 injection molded transfer board that will surpass the affordability barrier for users around the world.
In this instructable, I'll show you a little bit about our process going from concept to product.
Source of the gif: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtrmDpsY9BY
After we have the concept, the first step is to get out and ask people what they like about the design of current transfer boards. We wanted to talk to wheelchair users, therapists, and families of people who use wheelchairs. After as many interviews as possible, we were able to identify a few areas where we could really make a difference.
While a nicely finished wooden transfer board will usually look nicer to most users, we can successfully create a plastic transfer board that is lighter, easier to hold, and significantly lower cost.