Wheelchair Innovation Applied To The COVID-19 Response
National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program, Government of Canada
Cheelcare is an innovative technological and manufacturing company focused on radically improving the quality of life and independence of people with physical disabilities through its suite of next generation assistive devices. We have developed innovations which focus on enabling disabled individuals to exceed their imposed limits by providing them with advanced mobility and connectivity solutions. Our three product lines include: robotic wheelchairs, power add-ons to manual wheelchairs, and power accessories (chargers and backup cameras/sensors). By leveraging our extensive expertise in design and manufacturing as well as in software and mechanical engineering, we were in an excellent position to respond to the government’s call to private companies to create innovative solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To support our efforts and also attest to our capabilities, the Government of Canada recently awarded an NRC-IRAP* grant to Cheelcare.
Our most advanced mobility products utilize several systems including safety and collision avoidance systems which were developed by Cheelcare and which will be at the core of our COVID-19 product. We are proposing to build on these existing systems to provide an innovative solution for the disinfection of public spaces by developing an autonomous robotic mobility platform with an Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) irradiation emitter mounted to it. The UV-C irradiation destroys the virus’ RNA and leaves the environment COVID free. The platform will be modified to eliminate shaded areas and increase the efficiency of the system.
Combining UV-C techniques with a robotic mobility platform and a high-power source will provide a cost-effective solution for the rapid disinfection of public areas and may enable large scale protocols for prevention and containment of outbreaks. UV-C disinfection systems currently exist, but none are autonomous and robotic which greatly limits their adaptability and effectiveness. Advanced features make the solution developed by Cheelcare an exciting major innovation which will combine ahigh disinfection rate with high operational efficiency.
Cheelcare has identified numerous potential early adopters of the technology which is only a small sampling of the many public areas where the COVID virus could be present creating a vital need for this highly effective solution:
- hospitals and clinics,
- retirement residences,
- hotels and lobbies,
- places of worship,
- grocery stores,
- malls and food courts,
- cinema theatres,
- airports and public transit.
The primary disadvantages of existing disinfecting methods (predominantly chemical) are that they are labour-intensive, time-consuming and uneven. With few exceptions (e.g., hydrogen peroxide vapor), they require manual wiping of surfaces with a disinfectant. This operational inefficiency can be a significant hurdle to the implementation of large-scale disinfection programs and can make them economically nonviable. Moreover, manual labour can be prone to errors, e.g., some areas could be intentionally or unintentionally skipped during disinfection, some areas are difficult to access fully, etc. The Cheelcare platform eliminates these disadvantages with a highly effective, wide range solution.
Cheelcare CEO and Co-Founder Eugene Cherny is available for comments at email@example.com