People in wheelchairs have little choice but to get wet or stay home when it rains. Rain gear is certainly an option but changing clothes, especially putting pants on, is not easy for the typical wheelchair user. Our mission was to simply keep wheelchair users dry in the rain.
There is currently no such solution on the market.
What it does
With a flip of a switch, it opens the umbrella to cover the user during rainy or sunny weather. Another flip of the switch and it collapses back. It's inverted shape will limit any water dripping on the user's head when it closes.
How we built it
We utilized a motorized car radio antenna as our automated solution and assembled the off-the-shelf umbrella with the radio using custom laser cut acrylic pieces. Power is supplied by 9V batteries in series. Mounting to the wheelchair was done by simple zip tie and string solutions.
Challenges we ran into
Setting the limits for the motor to stop/start at appropriate heights; Aligning assembly for fluid opening/closing. Mounting to wheelchair at appropriate angle.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Having completed a working prototype and successfully mounting it for demonstration in a couple of days.
What we learned
Teamwork; even simple solutions take time.Don't re-invent the wheel. Super glue and zip ties are always useful.
What's next for Rain Rain Go Away
Canopy style rain coverage. Improving mounting and assembly pieces for improved alignment.