Two Mid-Michigan inventors have new device for wheelchair users - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Two Mid-Michigan inventors have new device for wheelchair users

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(03/30/12) - Two Mid-Michigan men have invented a device that could become very popular with wheelchair users. And, if it passes a rigorous testing process, it will be manufactured in Flint, creating dozens of new jobs.

Twelve years ago, a virus attacked Christina McKinney's spinal cord. The Burton woman has been using a wheelchair ever since. Today she's testing a new standing wheelchair. Wearing a specially-designed cloth saddle, she's able to transfer to the new device with no assistance.

"I literally cried when I first tried it. When this first stood me up I was bawling in tears because it made me feel independent," McKinney said.

The Icanstand wheelchair was invented by Dan Davis and Gary Hammond. Twenty seven years ago, they collaborated on the Standing Dani, an upright wheelchair for children. Davis and Hammond saw a need for an adult version, one that the user could operate without assistance, avoiding the possibility of injury to caregivers trying to transfer the disabled person.

"It totally eliminates the caregiver from the transfer process. Hopefully we can enter the marketplace through the rehab clinics as a patient transfer and upright mobility device," said Dan Davis, co-inventor.

It only took 10 months from concept to completion of two prototypes. One wheelchair user had a great time in the testing phase.

"He was driving around Chesaning with it and having a ball. It does make you feel good to see that," said Gary Hammond, co-inventor.

Wheelchair users who have tried Icanstand say they enjoy being up at eye level. They feel more included in everyday life.

And they appreciate the increased mobility. Icanstand has a fairly wide stance and can travel over moderately rough terrain. It could be ready for production in 18 months.

"We think this has exceptional potential for creating not just jobs but also a new reputation for the I-69 trade corridor," said Neil Sheridan, Kettering University TechWorks Accelerator.

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