The Free Wheelchair Mission is a nonprofit dedicated to providing the transforming gift of mobility to people with disabilities in developing nations. They collect donated wheelchairs and other mobility devices and put them through a vigorous testing and repair process before sending them to communities around the world. To date, they have provided nearly one million wheelchairs worldwide. Their team recently reached out to Dytran for vibration sensors to be used on their testing track.
Dytran was able to donate over $10,000 worth of accelerometers and accessories to outfit their wheelchair test and development endeavors. Their three chair configurations are designed to withstand regular use in the rugged terrain more common in the developing world. Each model is built, shipped, and delivered worldwide for $80. Dytran’s 3263A8T accelerometers measure vibration and are attached at various points to wheelchairs undergoing testing during development. The data gathered from the Dytran vibration sensors tells the Free Wheelchair Mission’s technicians whether the chairs’ vibrations are within acceptable limits as they maneuver different obstacles and conditions. The testing phase is vital as vibrations beyond the testing threshold could signal mechanical issues with wheelchairs that could harm their future occupants or cause breakdowns in rough terrain. The vibration testing data collected from the Dytran sensors lets the Free Wheel Chair Mission know whether a wheelchair is ready to send to someone in need, or whether repair is required.
The worldwide need for wheelchairs is astonishing; it is estimated that 100 million people in developing nations are in need but do not have the resources to obtain one. As the Free Wheelchair Mission notes, “poverty, disease, malnutrition, armed conflict, and lack of proper medical care are all major causes of disability in the developing world. For those already suffering from the pain, isolation and indignity of a physical disability without access to a wheelchair, many are forced to live on the ground or to wait to be carried to meet their most basic of needs.” A wheelchair gives mobility, independence, and dignity to those with disabilities.
Dytran is proud to support the mission of the FWM and sponsor a local nonprofit with a global reach.