Friday, November 6, 2015

Go Grit Freedom Chair

This year I've test driven the Freedom Chair, a recently developed off-road manual wheelchair, twice. This stunningly solid, affordable and conveniently designed wheelchair was created by MIT students as a school project and produced in quantity for use in underdeveloped countries. This innovative entrepreneurial student group has since launched a company, called GRIT, to produce the Freedom Chair for sale in the U.S. In their first year they've sold seventy chairs so far.

I first tested the Freedom Chair in early spring, with snow still on the ground, as the Go Grit team was fundraising to produce their first round of chairs. A couple of us in the Universal Access Program were able to test ride it outside our office and discovered that it could travel over grassy terrain and snow patches with ease. We could even work it up over curbs and handle uneven terrain pretty well. Our landscape was limited though and we didn't have a true user, someone who actually uses a manual wheelchair, to give us what I would consider official feedback.