Commercialization

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Wheelchair Shipping Container

Electronic wheelchairs are critical assistive devices which more than 17 million people travel with by air annually. The cost of modern electric wheelchairs ranges from several thousand dollars to several tens of thousands of dollars. Currently, airlines have to transport assistive devices for persons with disabilities in accordance to DOT Air Carrier Access regulations. On domestic flights, airlines may not limit their liability for loss or damage to wheelchairs. In the event of the device being damaged or lost, the procedure for calculating passenger compensation is the original purchase price of the device. The need for a durable, universal and cost effective shipping container to protect these assistive devices is critical. Addressing this need, researchers at Utah State University have developed an innovative wheelchair shipping container that stores, protects, and transports electronic wheelchairs, while still meeting security needs of airlines.
   
Applications
Features and Benefits
  • Wheelchair transportation for:
    • Aviation industry
    • Wheelchair manufacturers
    • Consumers
  • Wheelchair storage for consumers

 

  • Reduced wheelchair damage liability, resulting in cost savings for airline
  • Durable aluminum design will fit through cargo doors of most commercial airplanes, allowing both horizontal and vertical transportation
  • Universal design to fit most power wheelchairs, including numerous makes and models, maximizing usage
  • Sight ports to allow for security inspection and battery removal
 
Technology
Constructed of aluminum for a cost efficient and long lasting, the Wheelchair Shipping Container is used to store, protect and transport electronic wheelchairs. The device design assists in moving, loading, and securing wheelchairs during air travel. Structural design elements will allow for device to be stackable while in air travel storage. Capabilities will include airport check-in procedures such as: dropping the device door, driving the wheelchair in, disconnecting the battery, closing the device doorway, and assembly/disassembly of wheelchair.
 
Development Stage
A prototype of the Wheelchair Shipping Container has been constructed and tested.  Results for marketing research conducted at the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University are summarized at the following link (PDF). 
 
Patent Pending
 
CONTACT INFORMATION
Glenn Whichard
Senior Commercialization Associate
Physical Sciences
Glenn.Whichard@usu.edu
(435) 797-9604
Reference: W07061
www.ipso.usu.edu

 

 

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