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Patient Transport Device for Township Areas of Cape Town, South Africa

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Student Designer: Bryan Stenson (Northwestern University)


Currently, there is no effective and comfortable way to transport immobilized patients to clinics over rough terrain in townships and rural areas of South Africa. Common methods involve transportation of handicapped patients by elderly women using either body bags or wheelbarrows; however, these methods are labor-intensive and undignified. To overcome the difficulties, we have developed the Trekker, a collapsible device with the following features: ISO bicycle wheels; a rigid frame; adjustable width to accommodate all sized patients and pathways; a mesh, reclined seating with a low center of gravity. Shonaquip, our client in South Africa, can produce the device using locally available, inexpensive steel tubing and bicycle parts. Such a device has a potential to serve an estimated market of 85 million people in the developing world, giving the Trekker commercial viability. The Trekker provides a novel solution that is both dignified and effective for transporting patients in South Africa.


The device must tackle rough terrain with ease; it must be collapsible and adjustable; and it needs to greatly increase patient comfort and dignity. Furthermore, the device should also be aesthetically pleasing and be a product that the patient is proud to own. The Trekker consists of a frame made of interfitting steel tubing connected by bicycle clamps, bicycle wheels attached via bicycle forks, and a nylon netting that provides a hammock-style seating.

For full story, visit Patient Transport Device for Township Areas of Cape Town, South Africa