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PMK: Electric Power Wheelchair Upstairs: An Innovation to Help Patients with Stair Climbing

Three researchers have collaborated to innovate an electric-powered wheelchair for stair climbing. Asst. Prof. Dejrit Maneetham, Head of the Mechatronics Department in the Faculty of Technical Education at RMUTT, Asst. Prof. Dr. Benjalak Muangmeesri from Valaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University, Colonel Asst. Prof. Dr. Arom Khunphasee, Director of Rehabilitation Medicine, Major Dr. Tong Ponghanyuth from Phramongkutklao Hospital, and Colonel Asst. Prof. Dr. Sutee Panichkul from the Department of Innovation at Phramongkutklao College of Medicine have collaborated with Phramongkutklao Hospital to develop the PMK: Electric Power Wheelchair Upstairs, an electric-powered wheelchair for stair climbing.

Colonel Asst. Prof. Dr. Arom Khunphasee said that the electric-powered wheelchair is an invention that will aid in migrating patients up and down stairs as the patient does not need to exert a lot of energy. The wheelchair also only requires one person to operate. It is suitable for various patients, such as those that have suffered from strokes, and brain or spinal cord injuries, resulting in muscle weakness. It may be also used for the elderly and those with Muscular Dystrophy, which the muscles in the thighs will initially weaken and lead to the patient being unable to stand or walk. Eventually, the patient will require a wheelchair throughout life. The wheelchair may also be used for patients that live in townhouses or office homes. With the office on the first floor, the patient may have to be on the second floor most of the time. This wheelchair will enable patients to come down to the first floor more efficiently.

In addition, Asst. Prof. Dejrit Maneetham said that the PMK: Electric Power Wheelchair Upstairs consists of three components. The first component is the electric wheelchair, clamp beam, and caterpillar tractor, which uses a 350 watts, 24 volts DC motor, attached to a gear box with a 1:50 ratio compared to the steel belt. Rubber tires are attached to the steel belt so the electric wheelchair can grip the stairs. There are two sets of batteries, which are each 24 volts series. If the battery runs out when the patient is on the electric wheelchair, the safety system allows the patient to press a switch in order to immediately use the second battery, with the patient being tilted no more than 35o. Once the electric wheelchair resumes its ability to move up and down again, the patient will still be in a normal sitting position.

Those that are interested in the PMK: Electric Power Wheelchair Upstairs can ask for more information by contacting Asst. Prof. Dejrit Maneetham, Head of the Mechatronics Department in RMUTT’s Faculty of Technical Education by calling 02-549-4746.

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