Wheelchair Design Breakthrough Wins $20,000 Grand Prize in Global Design Contest

"Create the Future" Design Contest (www.createthefuture2010.com) sponsored by PTC® (www.ptc.com), COMSOL (www.comsol.com), and Tech Briefs Media attracts nearly 1,000 innovative product ideas from engineers and students in 51 countries.

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 — (PRNewswire) — A new invention could help millions of manual wheelchair users increase their mobility while decreasing upper body, repetitive stress injuries. Many who suffer from muscle pain, torn rotator cuffs, joint degeneration, and carpal tunnel syndrome due to muscle overuse will benefit from the Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System. This innovative design uses a pulling/rowing motion as opposed to the standard pushing motion.

Developed by Salim Nasser of Merritt Island, FL, the Rowheel System design involves adapting a planetary gear system at the center of the wheel, which reverses the pulling motion of the user into a forward motion of the chair. The unique change from pushing to pulling along with the mechanical advantage created by the use of the gear system provides an overall increase in user endurance and range.

Mr. Nasser, who is himself wheelchair-bound, originally designed the system as his senior design project while attending Florida International University (FIU). The original design took 4-1/2 months from concept to prototype. Mr. Nasser said, "I thought it was a great design and that someone would be able to use for their own health." Mr. Nasser is currently an engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center where he performs structural and dynamic analysis for flight hardware and ground support equipment.

After hearing the news that he was the grand prize winner of the "Create the Future" Design Contest, Mr. Nasser replied, "It would be the ultimate satisfaction to see your design come to life and be used by other people."

The Create the Future Design Contest is sponsored by PTC ( www.ptc.com), COMSOL ( www.comsol.com), and Tech Briefs Media Group ( www.techbriefsmedia.com). The Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System was among the new product ideas submitted in the eighth design contest, which attracted a record number of qualified entries.

In addition to the grand prize, first-place winners (of Hewlett-Packard workstations) were named in six categories:

Sustainable Technology

Sustainable, Durable Bridges of the Future

Ibrahim Al-Khattat, Talacre, Wales, UK

A "green" technology that could revolutionize materials, design, and construction methods of bridges, this design offers a unique inherent capacity to withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding.

Consumer Products Category

BreezeRite Air Filtration Module

Rob Luchsinger, Pipe Creek, Texas

Filter attaches to the leading edge of indoor ceiling fan blades and quickly eliminates airborne particulates, smoke, and odors.

Machinery & Equipment Category

Lift Pump

Eric Foy, Central Point, Oregon

A high-flow lift pump can be used to draw water from low lying areas and lift a few feet to fill a header tank or mobile water tender in a matter of a few minutes.

Medical Category

IDEA™ Enhanced Pulse Oximetry – Team Entry

Rodrigo Teixeira, Huntsville, AL

The first noninvasive, convenient, and reliable way to measure the volume of blood pumped by the human heart -- a direct indicator of heart health.

Safety and Security

Digital Window Distributed Imaging Camera – Team Entry

Ellen Cargill, Boston, MA

The first stand-alone computational imaging system, able to stream and record in full-color high resolution throughout its 180 degree field of view, without fisheye distortion.


Regenerative Braking Bike Front Wheel – Team Entry

David Swain, Ann Arbor, MI

A retrofit front-wheel for a bicycle that uses state-of-the art hydraulics to store braking energy for later release.

Finalists were selected by senior editors at Tech Briefs Media Group and judged by an independent panel of design engineers. For the first time, teams were allowed to enter designs. Visitors to the contest Web site could vote on entries, with the 10 most popular designs awarded a SpaceNavigator 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion. Popular design winners and honorable mentions hailed from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, in addition to the U.S. For more information, visit www.createthefuture2010.com.


COMSOL, Inc. (Burlington, MA) provides software solutions for multiphysics modeling and simulation. Its flagship product, COMSOL Multiphysics, lets engineers and scientists build simulations that bring their design ideas to life. COMSOL's customers apply this technology to make cars and aircraft safer and more energy efficient, enhance the reception of our cell phones, search for new energy sources, explore the universe, develop medical equipment enabling more accurate diagnoses, and educate the next generation of scientists. www.comsol.com.

About PTC

PTC (Nasdaq: PMTC) provides discrete manufacturers with software and services to meet the globalization, time-to-market and operational efficiency objectives of product development.  Using the company's PLM and CAD solutions, organizations in the Industrial, High-Tech, Aerospace, Automotive and Defense, Retail and Consumer, and Medical industries are able to support key business objectives and create innovative products that meet customer needs and comply with industry regulations. www.ptc.com.

About Tech Briefs Media Group

Tech Briefs Media Group is publisher of NASA Tech Briefs, the largest-circulation design-engineering magazine worldwide and Defense Tech Briefs, the largest-circulation engineering magazine for the mil/aero market. The Tech Briefs Media Group product line has grown to include print/digital advertising, email/web products, virtual events, seminars & conferences, custom media and content related advertising. Combined, these products reach over 700,000 engineers and managers worldwide. www.techbriefsmedia.com.

SOURCE Tech Briefs Media Group

Tech Briefs Media Group
Florida International University
Parametric Technology Corporation
Debbie Rothwell, Director of Marketing, Tech Briefs Media Group
Phone: +1-212-490-3999
Web: http://www.techbriefsmedia.com

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