Wheelchairs are good at helping people move around, but they may not be convenient for carrying lots of things. A team of students at Project Invent, a program where high school students design products for their communities, decided to create a robot to help people in wheelchairs carry groceries.
The students first wanted to make a robotic arm attached to a wheelchair. But when they shared this idea with a local wheelchair basketball team, they discovered that it would be too heavy and could tip a wheelchair over. So, they decided to make a separate robotic shopping basket on wheels, called Perch. Shoppers can put their groceries inside the basket as it rolls behind them or by their side. How does Perch know where the person is? It uses echolocation like a bat does to follow their wheelchair!
In the future, the students hope Perch will be available for anyone who uses a wheelchair.
What would you design to help people who use wheelchairs with everyday tasks? Show us your ideas in the design section!