looks like this might be a useful addition to a non-electric wheelchair, can anyone comment on how well it works/.



found on  https://www.facebook.com/InterestingThingsDaily2014?fref=nf

If you've used it and can share your opinion, that would be great!

For Pat Dougherty, necessity and invention were discovered as close to home as it gets. “As an incomplete quad, I’ve always used a manual wheelchair,” says Dougherty, 52, of Boise, Idaho. “Around eight years ago, I was in my backyard trying to play ball with my kids on the grass. It was a pain. My front casters kept sinking in, and I just couldn’t push worth anything on grass. I figured there had to be a solution.”

A Hewlett-Packard employee at the time, Dougherty just wanted to solve this one issue for himself. “I figured that putting a larger wheel upfront that could be put on and off would work,” recalls Dougherty. “So, ironically, I used the materials from an old bike rack to make my first prototype. It didn’t work well, but it proved what I was looking to do. By lifting my casters off of the ground and rolling on a large front wheel, I could propel on tougher terrain.”

Dougherty became passionate about his one-man project. When he wasn’t at work, he was behind his home computer drawing concepts. “The more I thought about it, the more I thought that if it could solve my need, it could solve others’ needs,” Dougherty says. “I needed a large front wheel that could be installed and removed easily by the user.” It was then that Dougherty learned an invaluable lesson as an inventor: “Keeping things simple is the hardest part. I knew that I had to find a way that a quad like me could attach and remove the wheel. But how could I do that?”

Pat Dougherty invented the Free- Wheel so that he would have an easier time playing in the backyard The challenge was how to attach a large front wheel that lifts the front casters off of the ground. After all, how do you lift the casters off the ground, and add a front frame with a wheel on it, while still in the chair? “It was one of those light-bulb, ah-ha moments,” says Dougherty. “I realized that by angling the fork stem geometry, I could use the wheel itself for leverage. By mounting the wheel attachment to the footplate with the wheel in the rearward direction, when I pushed forward and pivoted the fork, it naturally lifted the casters off of the ground and off I went. The FreeWheel was born.”

Dougherty refined his design by using it around the HP campus. He also discussed his invention on Internet message forums. International demand was immediate. “I made 25 that first year in my garage and shipped them to users around the globe,” he says. “Users loved it, and I used their feedback to make it better. You have to listen and know your market.”

Dougherty now runs the company full time with a staff and his twin brother. With a retail price of $599, and insurance coverage by the VA and other insurers internationally, the FreeWheel is among the best-selling ultralight wheelchair accessories of all time, allowing users to convert an everyday ultralight wheelchair for hiking, exercise or around-town travel.

http://www.newmobility.com/2014/09/stories-of-invention/
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looks like this might be a useful addition to a non-electric wheelchair, can anyone comment on how well it works/.
looks like this might be a useful addition to a non-electric wheelchair, can anyone comment on how well it works/.
Reviewed by pada mama
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Rating : 4.5