A solar-powered electric wheelchair developed by a team of students at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) could go on sale as early as June.
Brandon Michelle Vázquez Guadarrama, Alejandro Soriano Gonzaga and Sergio Ernesto Bustos Rodríguez are a step closer to their goal of marketing their product after creating a beta prototype of the wheelchair known as “Chair Goes.”
The students have begun the process of registering intellectual property rights and after international research results come through will apply for a patent with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI).
They intend to form the first Mexican company to design and manufacture electric wheelchairs.
The device has three retractable solar cells capable of charging three batteries per day, which can also be connected to a normal 120-volt power source.
The chair is powered by two 24-volt motors and includes turn signals, night-lights and a power inverter so that users can charge mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets via a USB connection.
It can also go up and down stairs.
According to the students, the new version of the wheelchair can carry up to 160 kilograms, travels at 15 kilometers per hour and has a light yet durable ergonomic seat. It has a front disc brake system similar to that on bicycles.
The creators are already working on the commercial model, which will have an electromagnetic generator capable of producing its own energy as well as other new features to improve comfort, weight, battery life, speed and ease of transportation.
The design caught the eye of business incubator Ángel Ventures, which is currently advising the students on the formulation of a business model, setting up a company and selling the product.