We’re very excited to announce that the Icon A1 wheelchair is now for sale for delivery in early October.
We’ll be selling through the dealer network and online through Sportaid.
If you know any dealers that would be interested in having us be a part of their mix, please have them contact us.
Over the last six months or so, we built a number of prototypes, and reached a final design that was tested using the RESNA protocols in early spring. We took that design (and a working prototype) to our engineering partner, Multimatic, and started putting everything into CAD and writing some virtual testing software to let us run some Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tests, to optimize the design and test things that went above and beyond the RESNA protocols.
So we’ve spent the last few months testing, engineering, re-testing and re-engineering to reduce weight, reduce cost and improve durability.
At this stage we want to share a little bit of the work to show you some of the reasons why we truly believe that this product is going to take things to a new level in the wheelchair world.
The three things that we want to share are
1) an image of the final design,
2) a “package study” that we did to determine ranges, and
3) some of the FEA testing that we did.
The only real aesthetic difference between this final design and the prototypes that we built is the upswept front wing – this was to provide a grab-point for floor to chair transfers, and to help with the leg splaying/frogging issue.
There are a bunch of improvement that aren’t obvious in the photos, including some pretty dramatic weight reductions.
2. Package Study
This is an image from a package study that we did to make sure that all of our ranges worked:
This slide shows the study parameters set for a 540 wheel with a 4” caster. We also ran it using every combination of 3, 4, and 5” casters with 22, 24, 25, and 26” rear wheels. This study shows the seat height and angle combinations as well as back angle, and it’s not as obvious because the images are all overlaid, but this also looks at COG ranges as well.
3. Finite Element Analyses
Finally, here are some images of some of the FEA that we ran on the Icon. This is in addition to real world testing that we did, and was very, very informative – it not only let us see how we could do things better, but some of the earlier studies we did really showed us where the competition is going wrong.
We tested and will continue to test in the real world to the RESNA standards, but with the FEA that we have available to us, we went beyond what’s called out in the RESNA standards – as an example, we did additional virtual tests where we “dropped” the chair onto its left side (front and back wheels), only front wheels, and only one front wheel.
The FEA let us take a look at the dramatic difference that materials make – in the CAD/FEA we can change the materials from 6061-T6 to 6061-T4 aluminum, go from heat treated to not heat treated, make the tubes titanium or various 7000 series aluminums.
We looked at the “plastic strain” that happens when materials see forces applied to them and used this information to make highly informed decisions about where we could take material away and where we needed to leave it.
The combination of real world test validation and the additional information that we’ve given ourselves using FEA is giving us a really high level of confidence in the design and the material selections we’ve made, from both a performance and durability point of view.
We’re excited about the next few months and look forward to seeing some of our chairs where they belong – under your butts.