GRIT Wheelchair Wins Patents for Humanity Award

Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) started as an MIT student project, now gives mobility to users across the world.

The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) has been distributed around the world in developing nations and village settings where mobility in a wheelchair is difficult or impossible. 

With the LFC, users can move up to 80 percent faster with 50 percent more torque and greater maneuverability in and outdoors compared to normal wheelchair designs.

LFC’s major benefits come from the handgrips and third wheel. 

Having handholds allows users with upper body strength to actuate the chair and create more torque than just pulling on the wheels. Riders can also create more or less torque by grabbing higher or lower on the levers.

Three options for the chair are sold, ranging from 49 to 53 lbs and 24 to 29 inches wide. All options are 44 inches long and feature a 14 inch deep seat. 

26 inch pneumatic bicycle tires are located in the rear with an 8 inch solid rubber caster wheel in the front.

Use of standard bicycle components for the frame and drivetrain allow for easy repairs using a more standardized catalog of parts.

The LFC is designed for wheelchair-bound adults, without postural support needs, to more easily maneuver over dirt roads, fields, hills and rocky terrain.

The original concept for the chair was designed Tish Scolnik, Mario Bollini, Ben Judge and Amos Winter while studying at MIT. 

GRIT is launching the Freedom Chair in the US, marketing it as a mountain bike for your arms. 

The concept and build are the same compared to the original, but the new target market  focuses instead on outdoor enthusiast wheelchair users.

This month the GRIT team was announced as a winner for the USPTO Patent for Humanity program. The team was given an award at the White House and now has a fast track toward the patent award for their product. 

The team has previously partnered with the World Bank and Red Cross to supply chairs to India, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania and several other countries.

Learn more about the Leveraged Freedom Chair at this link.

All images courtesy the GRIT team.