Microcontroller and electromotor optimization and component prototyping
Adricom LLC is developing an innovative solution for electric wheelchair users. Innovation that our product offers is a new way of storing and accessing personal belongings for people with impaired upper body mobility. When not being used, the bag is stored behind the back of the wheelchair in “smart-lock” position, so no one with ill-intents can take advantage when the bag is out of the user's sight. That way the bag is theft-proof even when out of the user's reach and sight.
For the transmission system we used a stepper motor, since we need the transmission system to know it’s position in every single step of the way. We thought the easiest way to do this would be to simply count steps until the transmission system reaches the microcontroller. This microcontroller serves as a switch which gradually slows down the movement of the bag and puts it into “stop” position. When the bag reaches “stop” position 2 events are triggered: if the “stop” position is on the back of the wheelchair, the bag needs to get into “lock” position to enable anti-theft mode. If the current “stop” position is one side of the wheelchair, the bag needs to automatically open for the user.
The issue we encountered in testing of our prototype is that our stepper motor is somewhat slow, and if we turn the speed up we’re afraid we could compromise the safety of our transmission system. The primary challenge in this situation is to find the optimal speed of the transmission system without compromising safety, because this is a product that must be completely safe in its work.
The secondary challenge is to prototype the storage bag by using 3D modeling and printing technology. The goal is to find the most suitable design for our solution.
Replacing the conventional solutions (regular bags) with solutions based on electric engineering such as ours could become a platform for integrating even more IoT and digital solutions that will enhance the experience of electric wheelchair users. Next stage in development of our product is including voice commands.