22 of its ability to scale up distribution of the
LFC as well as its reputation as a leader in
assistive device provision in the developing
world. BMVSS facilitated a relationship with
a production partner, Pinnacle Industries, an
original equipment manufacturer of truck
and bus seats—products similar in construction to a wheelchair.
The India LFC design, see Figure 1, addresses the critical feedback expressed by
subjects in the Guatemala trial. Chest, waist
and foot straps made of Velcro were added
as standard features to the chair. The parking
brakes were lowered by 12. 7 cm ( 5 in) to allow
for a larger stroke while still preventing the
levers from hitting the ground in the event
they were dropped by the user. Additionally,
a training program was implemented on how
to use the LFC. Each subject received more
than two hours of instruction, including skills
to cope with obstacles, before he or she took
the chair home. The World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for the Provision of Manual
Wheelchairs in Less-Resourced Settings”
includes training as a critical part of appropriate wheelchair provision [ 2].
Twenty-four India LFC prototypes were
tested throughout the country from May to
October 2011. Data from these tests showed
that the LFC performed nearly as well as conventional wheelchairs indoors, and provided
drastic advantages on rough terrains [ 25].
Eleven of the trial subjects were full-time
wheelchair users, and 10 of them switched to
the LFC as their primary mobility aid. These
people traveled an average of 2. 7 km per day
using the LFC. Conversely, using a conventional
wheelchair, none were able to leave their home
without the assistance of a family member.
Four of these people were able to gain employment because of their newfound mobility.
Seven of the full-time wheelchair users in
the trial underwent biomechanical testing
and were able to average 0.91 m/s ( 2.04
mph) using an LFC during a common daily
commute on their home terrain. This was
50 percent faster than what they could
achieve with a conventional wheelchair.
The most common feedback following
the India trial, voiced by seven of the subjects, was that the LFC should have cargo
space. A storage bag that hangs behind
the seat has since been incorporated into
THE PO WER OF THE CUSTOMER
Stakeholder input drove the evolution of the
LFC, and with each design iteration performance was improved. Furthermore, the
number and complexity of requested design
revisions decreased with every trial. The
relatively minor requests for upgrades following the India trial indicated that the LFC
design was sound and perhaps even ready for
The importance of the active
participation of all the stakeholders cannot
be overemphasized in the development of
the LFC. The stakeholders represent each
link in the chain from inception of an idea
to its implementation in the real world.
Figure 4 is a conceptual illustration of the
FIG 4: Stakeholder Integration
The India LFC design addressed the critical feedback
from the Guatemala trial.