GRIT is a company dedicated to changing the lives of people with mobile disabilities. The creators of the Freedom Chair studied mechanical engineering at MIT. After receiving the help of many industry professionals, these engineers were able to design an all-terrain mobility device. The chair is for people with mobile disabilities to go off-road and experience a life off the pavement.
People in developing countries, where there are fewer paved roads, were the original inspiration for the Freedom Chair. As a result, GRIT started to perfect their design and began to produce and sell the Freedom Chair.
What is the Freedom Chair?
The Freedom Chair is an all-terrain mobile device. It is not just designed for use on pavements, but for use on uneven surfaces, such as:
- Hiking trails
- Unplowed snow
What is The Freedom Chair equipped with?
- Comfortable seat
- Steel frame
- 2 push levers for drive
- 2 large mountain bike wheels
- 1 Small solid rubber wheel at the front of the chair for shock absorption and stability
- Quick release seat, hubs, and footrest
How does it work?
The Freedom Chair works like a mountain bike, except with the use of one’s arms. Unlike a standard wheelchair that operates by push rims, the Freedom Chair is lever drivetrain based. Users are able to use their arms to move the levers. The levers amplify the user’s force, making it easier to self-propel. In fact, using the levers uses half the amount of effort as using push rims on a standard wheelchair.
If the user places their hands high on the levers it uses more torque, enabling the user to overcome obstacles like hills. Placing hands at the bottom of the levers enables quick cruising. Users can engage the breaks by pulling back on the levers.
Lastly, the small 9” wheel at the front of the Freedom Chair provides a smooth ride on any terrain. Another key point is that the front wheel absorbs shock. The front wheel also distributes the user’s weight on soft terrain and will never get stuck.
The Benefits to Using the Freedom Chair
The chair’s lever drivetrain system allows the user to push the chair forward with ease. In fact, the lever drive requires less strength and endurance as a standard wheelchair.
The lever drivetrain system is ergonomically friendly. Issues may arise when using a standard wheelchair, such as stress in the shoulders and wrists. However, the Freedom Chair’s design eliminates these potential issues.
Because of the ergonomically friendly design and location of the levers, using the chair not only exercises your arms, but also provides a low impact cardiovascular workout.
The Freedom Chair is compact. It offers quick release features that disassemble and fit into a trunk of a small sedan. Surprisingly, the heaviest piece is the seat, which weighs 25 lbs.
The Freedom Chair adapts to the terrain travelled on. While the chair works on pavement, it also works well on grass, sand, and much more.
Easy to Fix
Bicycle parts are what makes the Freedom Chair. Therefore, repairs and maintenance are inexpensive. A mechanic at a bicycle shop can easily troubleshoot and fix the issue.
Since the Freedom Chair is made up of bicycle components, it can be tailored according to the users’ needs. Whether that be changing the wheels or the gearing, the user can make it their own.
The price is $4000 CAD, while a standard wheelchair is about $580 CAD. Though the price of the Freedom Chair is high compared to a standard wheelchair, it offers the user to experience a new quality of life. It also enables them to push past the pavement. Maintenance is affordable, and parts are easily accessible.
Creating Endless Opportunities to Live Life the Fullest
GRIT has provided a way for people with mobility impairments to gain more independence, but also experience a new life beyond restriction to paved roads and ramps.
Overall, the Freedom Chair is versatile. It does not limit the user. Users can now take shortcuts across grass or even move over a curb with little effort. The user can also head to a biking trail with their friends, or simply enjoy a day at the beach with their family. The possibilities are endless with the Freedom Chair.
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