Magic Wheels makes wheels for wheelchairs that use a gear reduction transmission to make ascending, descending and rough terrain easier to navigate. The wheels are equipped with two gear options, 1:1 and 2:1. The 2:1: configuration, which allows users to easily go up and down hills, also features a Hill Holder to prevent accidental rolling by using ratcheting transmission that locks the chair in place. According to Magic Wheels, the 2:1 configuration also reduces surging and helps with shoulder rehab.
The wheels use a hypocycloidal gear train with a ring gear, a spur gear and a hold gear. The spur and hold gears move in and out of engagement with the ring gear depending on the position of the shifter. The spur gear is engaged for the 1:2 configuration and orbits the inside of the ring gear but does not rotate on its own axis; it is fixed to the plate behind it. The hold gear is engaged for the 1:1 configuration but just locks the wheel into a solid rotation. The ring gear is directly affixed to the wheel and rotates when initiated.
Magic Wheels can affix to most wheelchairs without adaptation by using the quick release axel to pop them on and off. The wheels are made of steel, aluminum and carbon fiber composites, as well as other composites and materials, and were designed using Autodesk Inventor. Each wheel is composed of 250 separate parts. A pair costs approximately $4,995.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.