A group of students from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) has developed an innovative wheelchair suitcase. The project, which aims to give people with disabilities complete independence while traveling, has won the national James Dyson Award.
HOOPS, innovative suitcase
The guys behind the project have found that there is no alternative solution, allowing people with disabilities to carry their belongings without hindering their mobility. The development of HOOPS, as they called their project, was not an easy task. The engineers set a clear goal, but they needed to study the problem thoroughly. To understand their options, the students contacted ANDIS (Spanish Association of the Disabled) and interviewed many wheelchair users.
At first they considered attaching a suitcase on wheels to the side of the stroller, but it turned out to be difficult to carry, unstable and, importantly, easy to steal. We also thought of attaching a suitcase that would spin along with the wheel, but this makes it impossible to transport fragile products. The final version, according to the plan, should not only protect things, but also not impair the stability and smoothness of the movement of the chair itself.
This is how the current HOOPS design was born. The suitcase is attached to the axle of the stroller using bearings, its weight falls on the axle, so the moment of inertia of the wheel does not change the force required to move the chair.
As we can see in the images, the system consists of two suitcases located on the sides of the wheelchair. This is specifically conceived for a symmetrical layout and improved stability. HOOPS also has a special button that allows you to undock luggage in a few seconds.
The team explains that they continue to work on this project. Together with ANDIS, they will test the design in practice. In addition, students are striving to use 100% recyclable materials in the mass production of the suitcase, the suppliers of which have yet to be found. There is a long way ahead, but the project is undoubtedly very promising.