• Prototype handcycle
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Enabling amputees from the UK and Ethiopia to access mountainous environments, using hybrid power and solar charging
Group Members
Christopher Charalambous, Gayan Kahatota Liyanage, Guillaume Henry, Junaid Mahomed, Jin Teh, Thomas Parker
Professor Andrew Cruden, Dr Lindsay-Marie Armstrong
Alex Lewis Trust, National Instruments, Cyclotricity

Ethiopia is a developing country with a large number of amputees as a result of numerous conflicts. Limited manufacturing capabilities mean that amputees lack access to basic wheelchairs. Alex Lewis, a Hampshire-based adventurer and quadruple amputee, aims to raise funds to improve one of Ethiopia’s wheelchair factories by completing a hand cycling challenge to Ethiopia’s highest mountain, Ras Dashen, 4,500 metres above sea level.

The demanding mountain environment requires a specially designed hand cycle, capable of travelling safely, comfortably and reliably. The hand cycle prototype comprises a number of features making it suitable for off-road use in remote areas:

  • A unique mechanism which achieves joint propulsion and steering
  • Four wheels and double wishbone suspension for stability and comfort
  • 2000 W electric motor assistance to perform on steep gradients
  • Solar battery charging and twin Li-ion batteries to allow 8 hours of non-stop riding
  • A welded aluminium frame for a low mass of 28 kg
  • Ample space for carrying luggage and food
  • Charging points for phones, GPS and lighting
Exploded computational view showing handcycle systems and parts