In November 2010, Dr. Amos Winter began working as a post-doctoral research associate at SUTD. For the last four years, he has been engaged in the design of wheelchairs that are better suited than currently available products to the challenging transportation conditions that people with disabilities face in the developing world. His project, the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), is a lever-propelled wheelchair designed for use in rural areas of developing countries. It is up to 35% faster on the street than a conventional wheelchair and more capable off road than any other product available.
While an MIT graduate student, Amos also created and taught a course on wheelchair design and founded the MIT Mobility Lab. Mobility Lab students invented new technologies that have been adopted by wheelchair shops in Africa. In one breakthrough design, MIT undergraduate Mario Bollini invented a simple two-speed drivetrain for hand-powered tricycles that could be immediately implemented in the standard tricycles used in Africa. Tish Scolnik, another undergraduate, invented a design enhancement that allows people to use their wheelchairs as mobile businesses.
With the support of SUTD, Amos will build, distribute and test 25 LFCs in India in collaboration withBMVSS Jaipur Foot, the biggest disability group in the world, Pinnacle Industries, which will manufacture the LFC, and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. Following the trial, Pinnacle will tool up to produce 1000 LFCs per month. The LFC project has also been developed in collaboration with Whirlwind Wheelchair International, an NGO specialising in wheelchair design and distribution in the developing world, Transitions Foundation of Guatemala, and the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya.