Hacking Wheelchairs


Bobby DeMarco


Bobby DeMarco

Our wheel pocket is designed to help people in wheelchairs carry any number of things from throughout their day. Everyone takes for granted the value of inventions like backpacks, which help us carry many more things easily and well organized. But when in a wheelchair, it becomes more challenging and even dangerous to carry things. As both hands are in use when operating a wheelchair, it becomes difficult to carry anything for an at all extended period of time without it being strapped to your back or your front, which makes it very difficult to reach.

So, faced with this problem, our solution seemed simple. If we could add some form of storage device to the easily accessible sides, we would have our solution. This idea inspired the wheel pocket.

The wheel pocket comes equipped with four different pockets, all designed to serve different functions: the large pocket, meant for laptops and books, the iPhone pocket, meant to hold an iPhone, the wallet pocket, meant to hold a wallet or other small parcels, and the umbrella pocket, meant to carry, an umbrella, and in some cases, a baguette. All of the pockets are flexible in their use, so as to better fit the situation.


Not only are all of the pockets useful in concept, but in practicality as well. The pockets are all made from durable felt, sewn with hemp based thread on a strong wood backboard, keeping all of the users things safe.


Now, I'm sure a a potential user would be wondering, why would I want all of my stuff spinning around all day, but the good news is, it won't be. Using a Bearing we are able to keep the wheel pocket stationary while being right in the center of the wheel. And with a 3D printed device of our own design, installation is quick and easy


Hacking Wheelchairs

Andrew Todd Marcus


Bobby DeMarco

From the beginning, are plan to add storage space to the wheelchair. We thought about a variety of ways to do this, including attaching bags to the back and the front and the bottom, but realized that similar products all seemed to exist on the market, and also they were difficult to use. We noticed that the easiest place to access from sitting in a wheelchair with the side, but unfortunately, there were already wheels there, which spun and made it almost impossible to safely attach something. We brought all of these ideas to Andrew, and he informed us of something called the bearing which would allow us to attach our device to the wheel without having it spin. We sketched a bunch of different possible ideas of how to make our wheel pocket. And then started on rhino designing our first draft. On the first Friday we were at NuVu we printed a cardboard version of our design. The first draft work relatively well, although it's very difficult to install, and spined resolve the installation problem with a 3-D printed device in which one side attached to the wheel and the other attached to the backboard of our pockets. We changed the wheels the fabric, and made the backboard wood. We made frames for the pocket out of wood which we could drill on to the backboard and so the pockets too. We printed out the materials for the final and began to sew, a task which none of us had very much experience in. We are met with some pitfalls regarding the tabs that we used to connect the backboard to the frames, but they were solved with relatively no incident. After taking pictures of everything we had, we were finished.



Fritz Stammen

Today's Events

Zander Shooshan
1 / 4

On another day without my partner, I was able to examine our recently printed slider mechanism that was supposed to be perfect. I got to look at it and made sure it worked. Moving forward, the design will be further improved by including a track system that will keep the raising part better alligned. Putting off the actual mechanism for a short while, today was mostly about our model chair. We have mostly designed a scale 3D model of the wheelchair in the studio and adjusted it to be able to move with separate pieces. On one hand, it is a privelege to be able to re-structure the wheelchair and get maximum customization. On the other one, it is a major challenge that we have to add a whole new step to a process. Overall though, I do believe that it will have ended up being a fantastic choice.

First Printed Mechanism

Zander Shooshan
1 / 6

After today, we have a start of a 3D print. We did a seemingly flawless run on Fusion of our sliders, however, when it is created physically, it is not as exact as the computer. We tried to put a stopper on the ends of the two devices.This would allow the smaller part to slide in and out of the bigger part to a certain point so it will not fall out. Our design still holds water as a viable option and will most likely prove more effective soon. We will go back to the computer to check our design and fine tune the mechanism so that we can continue on our project with ease. Marty and I have the best hopes for the mechanism in its next iteration and count on making those hopes a reality as soon as possible.

Our New Mechanism

Zander Shooshan

Here is a look at the new method that we will be using to raise our seat and keep it attached to the rest of the chair. It is usually used for drawers, but we will be flipping it on its side and letting it telescope up.

Goodbye Scissor Lift

Zander Shooshan and Marty Morris

These are the last shots of our scissor concept. It was the idea that we thought was going to go somewhere but didn't. After much discussion, it was discovered that the scissor was too unreliable unless atomically measured. With so many points of attachment, the structure will lean all sorts of different ways. Even with that being so, our eventual wood prototype wasn't so bad.

The Problem

Marty Morris and Zander Shooshan

We are trying to solve the issue of height. People who are regularly sitting in wheelchairs are misfortuned with a point of view shorter than their actual body. They cannot work efficiently and comfortably in an average workshop. When a workbench, shelves, or drawers are made for a person standing at their full height, a wheelchair user cannot complete tasks that require such resources.