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Publication numberUS3802524 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 9, 1974
Filing dateJun 5, 1972
Priority dateJun 5, 1972
Publication numberUS 3802524 A, US 3802524A, US-A-3802524, US3802524 A, US3802524A
InventorsW Seidel
Original AssigneeW Seidel
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Motorized invalid carrier
US 3802524 A
Abstract
A motorized vehicle for different size invalid carriers in which the wheel assemblies of the vehicle are adjustable for width and length. Driving wheel assemblies on each side of the vehicle have individual motors for propelling the vehicle and steering it by selective actuation of the motors.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 1191 Seidel Apr. 9, 1974 MOTORIZED INVALID CARRIER 2,558,144 6/1951 McC mie 280/35 Inventor: Y Walter Seidel, 549 Rotunda I l /l l si i lfzfjfi ..l. 1 0 6. 5 Akron, Ohio 44313 2,874,791 2/1959 Mellencamp ISO/6.5 1 Filed= 5, 1972 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS {21] A l. No.: 259,468 223,747 1/1943 Switzerland 1. 280/35 52 us. c1 180/6.5, l80/DIG. 3, 280/35, m schonberg 297/DlG 4 Assistant ExammerLesl1e J. Paperner 51 1111. C1 A6lg 5/04 Almmey, Age, Firm-Frederick Lache [58] Field of Search ISO/6.5, 65 R, DIG. 3;

280/34 R, 35; 297/DIG. 4 [57] ABSTRACT 56 R f Ct d A motorized vehicle for different size invalid carriers e erences in which the wheel assemblies of the vehicle are ad- UNITED STATES PATENTS justable for width and length. Driving wheel asseml,251,777 l/1 918 Hosick et al 280/35 X blies on each side of the vehicle have individual mo- 946,842 1/l9l0 Haas 280/35 X tors for propelling the vehicle and steering it by selecet a1 actuation of the motors 2,798,565 7/1957 Rosenthal et a1. l80/6,5 1,853,318 4/1932 Peters 280/35 12 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures l "67 X 3 I 695F681, "1 l 66 x 3 1 I -w- 1 63 3 l 1 MOTORIZED INVALID CARRIER This invention relates to motorized vehicles for supporting a chair or bed and propelling it from one location to another. Heretofore wheelchairs, hospital beds and stretchers have been motorized by mounting motors on them and driving the wheels by pulleys or belts. This has increased the weight and space occupied by the invalid carriers making it very difficult to transport them from one location to another. For example, a wheelchair is usually folded and carried in the trunk of an automobile. With the motor and drive mechanism attached to the chair, it is unwieldy and too heavy to transport in this manner.

Another method of motorizing wheelchairs is to attach a one-wheel power unit having a motor driven wheel to a wheelchair for driving and steering the chair. This unit can be transported without the wheelchair but does need to be mounted on a special wheelchair for operation. This makes the power unit useless if a wheelchair having the proper design is not available at the destination to which it is being transported. Safety is another element of vital importancein moving invalids from one place to another and with the one-wheel power unit the chair is only supported by three wheels introducing an element of instability which is not there with a four-wheel vehicle.

Steering of wheelchairs with one-wheel power units is accomplished by a steering handle and this is not always practical where the invalid cannot turn the handle. The handle is also not located where a person assisting-the invalid can steer a-ndoperate the chair.

Wheelchairs have evolved to a point where they do not look like other chairs and people who use them are often treated abnormally even though they are well persons with only a disability preventing them from walking. This treatment is detrimental especially to persons who are recuperating from an accident or illmess and in a rehabilitation program where adjustments are being made to a new way of life.

Wheelchairs normally are of a width which is greater than the width of many doorways and although some devices have been designed to temporarily reduce the width of the chair permitting it to pass through the door, these devices also add to the weight and space required by the chair.

There is therefore a definite need for an improved apparatus for'motorizing invalid carriers. This apparatus should be safe, portable, adjustable for different size carriers and be easy to steer and operate. It is also desirable that a motorized invalid chair not be restricted to a conventional wheelchair design but be adaptable for other types of chairs for appearance and also for passage through narrow doorways.

According to this invention a motorized vehicle is provided which is adjustable for supporting invalid carriers of different sizes for persons in the seated or prone position. Driving wheel assemblies on the sides of the vehicle can be adjusted outward and inward to conform with the size of the carrier. Adjustable caster wheel assemblies permit turning of the vehicle and give it stability. The invalid carrier which may be an ordinary chair or bed can be retained on the vehicle in holders which are adjustable transversely and longitudinally of the vehicle along with the driving wheel assemblies and caster wheel assemblies'Each of the driving wheel assemblies include a wheel, a motor and a transverse structural member mounted on the vehicle for adjustment transversely of the vehicle. The caster wheel assemblies are mounted on telescoping arms pivotally connected to the vehicle for longitudinal and transverse adjusting movement.

The vehicle carries a battery which may be recharge able providing power to the motors on the driving wheel assemblies. Control of the movement of the vehicle is through the use of switches for selectively imparting forward and reverse movement to the motors of the driving wheel assemblies. When the power is switched off, the motors act as brakes for the vehicle.

With the unique construction of the invention, the vehicle can be made light and portable for carrying in the trunk of a car. Chairs of many different sizes may be supported by the adjustable holders and accordingly the apparatus is usable with conventional chairs and not limited to wheelchairs or special hospital chairs.

The accompanying drawings show one preferred form made in accordance with and embodying this invention and which is representative of how this invention may be practiced.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a vehicle (shown in solid.

lines) supporting a chair shown in phantom lines.

I FIG. 2 is a plan view taken along the plane of line 2--2 of FIG. 1 showing the adjustable angular and longitudinal positions of the arms supporting the casterassemblies in phantom lines and having parts broken away.

FIG. 3 is a front elevational view taken-along the plane of lines 3-3 of FIG. 1 showing the adjustable transverse positions of the driving wheel assemblies in phantom lines.

FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of the electric circuit for the vehicle shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the control box showing the location of the switches and control lever.

A motorized vehicle 1 is shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 supporting an invalid carrier such as chair 2, illustrated in phantom lines in FIGS. 1 and 3. A pair of driving wheel assemblies 3 are mounted on the sides of the vehicle 1 and include a right-hand driving wheel assembly 4 and a left-hand driving wheel assembly 5.

The driving wheel assemblies 3 have wheels 6 rotatably mounted on axles 7 which may be a part of or be fastened to transverse members such as struts 8 telescopically mounted in a hollow beam member 12 of the vehicle 1. Side plate members 13 are fastened to the struts 8 as by welding. Gear driven motors 14 which drive the wheels 6 through flanged sleeves l5 concentric with and surrounding the axles 7 are mounted on the side plate members 13. The position of the driving wheel assemblies 3 may be adjusted by slidingv the struts 8 in the hollow beam member 12 to positions such as that shown in dot-dash lines in FIG. 3. Screws 16 in the hollow beam member 12 extend through openings such as slots 17 in the struts 8 for clamping the struts in the desired position after the transverse adjustments of the wheel assemblies 3 have been made.

Holding means such as cup-shaped front hangers 18 are fastened to threaded bushings 22 which may be screwed on the ends of the axles 7 for receiving the front legs 23 of the invalid carrier such as chair 2. As shown in FIG. 3 in dot-dash lines, the wheel assemblies 3 are adjustable transversely of the vehicle 1 so that the hangers 18 are in position at the right width to receive the front legs 23 of the chair 2.

A pair of arms 24 are pivotally connected to brackets 25 fastened to the hollow beam member 12 of the vehicle 1 at positions between the pair of driving wheel assemblies 3. The arms 24 extend rearwardly of the vehicle 1 and have a pair of caster wheel assemblies 26 mounted near the ends of the arms for swivel movement around vertical axes.

Rear leg hangers 27 are mounted on the distal ends of the arms 24 for receiving rear legs 28 of the chair 2. The arms 24 are longitudinally adjustable with a telescopic construction in which the arms have outer box member portions 32 for receiving inner bar portions 33 slidably mounted therein to increase or decrease the length of the arms. The bar portions 33 have spacedapart holes 34 which may be brought into alignment with aligned holes 35 in the box member portions 32 so that screws 36 may be inserted through the holes 34 and 35 and held in place by wing nuts 37.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a plate member or platform 38 extends over the arms 24 and is fastened at the forward end-to brackets 25. Arm extensions 42 are located adjacent the box member portions 32 to which they may be fastened as by welding and carry bolts 43 which extend upwardly through curved slots 44 in the platform 38. The slots 44 have a curvature corresponding to the swinging arc of the arms 24 about the pivotal connections to brackets 25 to provide the angular adjustment of the arms indicated in dot-dash lines in FIG. 2. Wing nuts 45 screwed on the upper ends of the bolts 43 provide holding means to fix the angular position of the arms 24. With this adjustment, the rear leg hangers 27 can be moved angularly and longitudinally to positions corresponding to the positions of the feet of the rear legs 28 of the chair 2.

Foot rests 46 are adjustably mounted on support members 47 as by bolts and nuts 48 and 49. The support members 47 are pivotally mounted under the hollow beam member 12 for vertical swinging movement about bolts 53. At positions spaced forwardly of the bolts 53, clevises 54 are pivotally mounted to the support members 47 and have threaded rods 55 extending upwardly through holes in plate members 56 extending horizontally from the top of the hollow beam member 12. Threaded cylindrical adjusting sleeves 57 are screwed over the threaded rods 55 and have knurled flanges 58 at the upper ends for retaining helical compression springs 61 between the flanges 58 and the plate members 56. By turning the adjusting sleeves 57 on the threaded rods 55, the amount of compression in the springs 61 can be adjusted so that it will be sufficient to support the feet of a passenger sitting in the chair 2 but will permit compression of the springs and movementof the foot rests 46 downwardly so as not to upset the vehicle 1 if inadvertently someone steps on the foot rests. The height of the foot rests 46 can be adjusted by turning nut members 62 threaded on the rods 55 and located beneath the plate members 56 for engagement with the plate members to limit the upward movement of the support members 47 and thereby the upward position of the foot rests 46. The support members 47 extend forwardly of the vehicle 1 and serve the added function of preventing excessive forward tilting of the vehicle by engaging the ground ahead of the vehicle.

A power source such as l2-volt battery 63 is supported on the platform 38 and is held in position on the platform by a bracket member 64. Rods 65 are fastened to the platform 38 and extend upwardly through the bracket member 64 where they are fastened to the bracket member as by nuts 66 threaded on the ends thereof.

The chair 2 is retained on the vehicle 1 by hold-down means such as strap 67 having apertures 68 at the ends which may also serve to fit over the conducting posts 69 of the battery 63 so that the strap may also serve as a carrier for the battery. Turnbuckles 73 with hooks 74 at the ends for engaging the apertures 68 of the strap 67 are fastened to the platform 38 for tightening the strap to the desired tension to hold the chair 2 on the vehicle 1.

The battery 63 provides electric power through electrical conductors 75 and 76 which extend from the conducting post 69 to a panel 77 containing the electrical control components. Conductors 78 also connect the motors 14 with the panel 77 and are of such a length that they accommodate the transverse adjustments of the wheel assemblies 3.

The gear driven motors 14 of this embodiment consists of a right-hand motor R and a left-hand motor L. As shown in the circuit diagram in FIG. 4, the righthand motor R has a forward winding 79 and a reverse winding 83. The forward winding 79 is connected to a switch 84 which is actuated by a solenoid 85 to connect conductor 75 to the forward winding 79 and the motor R causing right-hand wheel 86 of the pair of wheels 6 to turn in a clockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 1. A fuse 87 may be interposed between the motor R and the conductor 76.

In a similar manner, the reverse winding 83 is connected to a switch 88 which is actuated by a solenoid 89 to connect conductor 75 to the reverse winding and motor R which is connected to the conductor 76 causing the right-hand wheel 86 to turn in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIG. 4, left-hand motor L is connected in a similar manner as the right-hand motor R. The lefthand motor L has a forward winding 93 and a reverse winding 94 as indicated. The forward winding 93 is connected to a switch 95 which is actuated by a solenoid 96 to connect conductor 75 to the forward winding and motor L which is connected to the conductor 76 causing left-hand wheel 97 of the pair of wheels 6 to turn in a clockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 1. A fuse 98 may be interposed between'the motor L and the conductor 76.

In addition, the reverse winding 94 of the left-hand motor L is connected to a switch 99 which is actuated by a solenoid 103 to connect conductor 75 to the reverse winding and motor L which is connected to the conductor 76 causing the left-hand wheel 97 to turn in a counterclockwise direction, as seen in FIG. 1.

The solenoids 85, 89, 96 and 103 are mounted on the panel 77 and are connected in the circuit between the conductors 75 and 76 for selective actuation by a series of microswitches located in a control box 104 which is connected to the panel 77 by a flexible conduit 105. The control box 104 has a clamp.106 which may be mounted on the arm of the chair 2 or on the back of the chair as shown in dot-dash lines in FIG. 1. The flexible conduit also makes it possible to operate the vehicle from a remote position as by a person walking beside the vehicle 1 and holding the control box 104 in his hands.

A fuse 107 may be interposed in conductor 76 between the control box 104 and the panel 77. The microswitches in the control box 104 are actuated by movement of a spring mounted control lever 108 with a handle 109 at one end. The disposition of the micro switches in the control box 104 is shown in FIG. 5 with the control lever 108 movable in a slot 113 and engageable with plungers 114 of the microswitches. As shown in FIG. 5, the microswitches for operating the vehicle 1 in the forward direction are on one side of the slot 113 and the microswitches for operating the vehicle in the reverse direction are on the other side of the slot. These same microswitches are shown diagramatically in FIG. 4 and have been identified by letters indicating the direction in which the vehicle will be driven when any one of the microswitches is closed by pressing of the control lever 108 against the respective plungers 114. The microswitches and the directions the vehicle is driven are as follows:

FW Forward FL Forward and left FR Forward and right RT Rotation in a clockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2

LT Rotation in a counterclockwise direction as seen in FIG. 2

RV Reverse RR Reverse and right RL Reverse and left.

The microswitches listed above are connected directly or through diode rectifiers 115 to the solenoids 85, 89,. 96 and 103 as shown in FIG. 4 and the operation of the vehicle through these microswitches when actuated by the lever 108 is as follows:

, To go forward, the microswitch FW is actuated which closes circuits to solenoids 85 and 96 causing the forward winding 79 of the right-hand motor R and the forward winding 93 of the left-hand motor L to be actuated along with the motors to drive both the wheels 6 in the forward direction.

To go forward and turn left, the microswitch FL is actuated which closes the circuit to solenoid 85 closing switch .84 and causing the forward winding 79 of the right-hand motor R to be actuated along with the motor to drive the right-hand wheel 86 in the forward direction.

A forward turn to the right may be obtained by actuating microswitch FR which closes the circuit to solenoid 96 closing the switch 95 and causing the forward winding 93 of the left-hand motor L to be actuated along with the motor to drive the left-hand wheel 97 in the forward direction.

Inorder to rotate the vehicle 1 in a right turn, either of the microswitches RT is actuated which closes the circuits to solenoids 96 and 89 actuating switches 95 and 88 causing the reverse winding 83 of the right-hand motor R and the forward winding 93 of the left-hand motor'L to be actuated along with the motors R and L driving the left-hand wheel 97 in the forward direction and the right-hand wheel 86 in the reverse direction. It will be noted'that there are two microswitches RT located at opposite ends of the slot 113 so that operation from the front right direction to rotation in the righthand turn can be obtained without having to move the lever 108 from one end of the slot to the other end. The same holds true of the reverse controls.

In order to turn the vehicle and rotate it in a left turn, the microswitches LT are actuated which closes the circuits to solenoids and 103. This causes current to flow through the forward winding 79 of the right-hand motor R and the reverse winding 94 of the left-hand motor L causing the right-hand wheel 86 to turn in a forward'direction and the left-hand wheel 97 to turn in a reverse direction. It will be noted that there are two microswitches LT located at opposite ends of the slot 113 of the control box 104 for substantially the same reasons as the location of the two microswitches RT.

- To obtain rearward motion of the vehicle 1, the microswitch RV is actuated which closes the circuit to solenoids 89 and 103 causing current to flow through the reverse winding 83 of the right-hand motor R and the reverse winding 94 of the left-hand motor L rotating both wheels 3 in the counterclockwise direction as shown in FIG. 1 and driving the vehicle in the reverse direction.

To operate the vehicle 1 in the reverse direction and to the left, the microswitch RL is actuated closing the circuit to solenoid 89 which actuates switch 88 causing current to flow through the reverse winding of the right-hand motor R rotating the right-hand wheel 86 in the counterclockwise direction.

To drive the vehicle 1 to the rear and to the right, the microswitch RR is actuated closing the circuit to sole-' noid 103 which closes switch 99 causing current to flow through the reverse winding of the left-hand motor L Y and driving the left-hand wheel97 in-the reverse direction.

It can be seen that the two switches labeled RT and the two switches labeled LT are provided in the control box 104 so that it will be possible to go from a turn in one direction to rotation in that direction smoothly and easily. It is also understood that the speed at which the motors R and L are driven may be regulated through rheostats or other apparatus incorporated in the panel 77 such as using a double voltage from a double voltage battery. It is also understood that the control box 104 may be of a circular configuration with around hole in the center and the microswitches extending radially therefrom and with the lever 108 in the center of the hole.

One of the advantages of the vehicle 1 of this invention is its adjustability and portability. It can be seen that by unfastening the turnbuckle 73, the hooks 74 can be released from the strap 67 and the chair 2 lifted out of the front hangers 18 and rear hangers 27. The control box 104 can be unclamped from the arm or back of the chair 2 and a plug 116 at the end of a flexible conduit may be detached from the panel 77 so that the control box 104 can be transported separately from the vehicle. Furthermore, the battery 63 can be removed by unscrewing the nuts 66 from the threaded rods 65 permitting removal of the bracket member 64. The strap 67 can then be placed with the apertures 68 over the conducting posts 69 of the battery 63 providing a handle and carrier for lifting the battery off the platform 38 and carrying it separately from the vehicle. The driving wheel assemblies 3 may then be moved to the retracted position and also the arms 24 may be swung inwardly and retracted into the longitudinally retracted position for easy transportation in a minimum of space. Upon arriving at the destination, another chair 2 may be placed in the front hangers 18 and rear hangers 27 with the driving wheel assemblies 3 being movable transversely, as shown in FIG. 3, and the arms 24 being movable longitudinally and angularly to positions for accommodating the particular width and length of the chair. 1

While certain representative embodiments and details have been shown for the purpose of illustrating the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be made therein without'departing from the spirit or scope of the invention.

1, therefore, particularly point out and distinctly claim as my invention:

1. An adjustable motorized vehicle for supporting and propelling invalid carriers of different sizes comprising a platform for carrying a power source, a pair of unitary driving wheel assemblies on opposite sides of said platform, a pair of caster assemblies on opposite sides of said platform and mounted on the platform at positions spaced from said pair of driving wheel assemblies, means to support the invalid carrier at positions adjacent said driving wheel assemblies and said caster assemblies, holddown means to retain the invalid carrier on said platform, each of said driving wheel assemblies including a wheel and an individual drive motor, control means for directing power selectively to said individual drive motor of each of said wheel assemblies from said power source for propelling and steering said vehicle, one of said driving wheel assemblies having a transverse member extending towards and adjustably connected to said platform for adjusting movement of the driving wheel assembly relative to said platform in a direction transversely of the vehicle to adjust the width of the vehicle to the width of the invalid carrier and at least one of said pair of caster assemblies being adjustably mounted on said platform for movement of the caster assembly transversely of the vehicle.

2. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 1 wherein both of said pair of caster assemblies are adjustably mounted on said platform for adjusting movement of the caster assemblies longitudinally of the vehicle to adjust the length of the vehicle to the length of the invalid carrier.

3. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 1 wherein said transverse member of said driving wheel assembly has a portion telescopically mounted in a mating portion of said platform for adjusting movement of the driving wheel assembly transversely of the vehicle.

4. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 1 wherein each of said wheels of said driving wheel assemblies is rotatably mounted on an axle and said means to support the invalid carrier includes a holder mounted on the outboard end of said axle for receiving a supporting member of an invalid carrier.

5. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 1 wherein each of said pair of driving wheel assemblies and each of said pair of caster assemblies are adjustably connected to said platform for adjusting movement transversely of the ,vehicle to adjust the width of the vehicle to the width of the invalid carrier.

6. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 5 wherein each of said pair of caster assemblies are adjustably mounted on said platform for adjusting movement transversely of the vehicle to adjust the width of the vehicle to the width of the invalid carrier.

7. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 1 wherein said platform supports a source of electric power, said control means connecting said source of electric power andsaid motors of said pair of driving wheel assemblies, said control means including switch means for selectively actuating said motors for rotation of said wheels in the forward and reverse directions whereby said vehicle may be propelled forward, backward or turned in either direction.

8. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 7 wherein each of said motors of said pair of driving wheel assemblies has a reverse winding and a forward winding and said switch means includes individual switches connected to said reverse winding and said forward winding of each of said motors.

9. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 8 wherein said switches are actuated by solenoids for each of said switches and said control means includes microswitches connected to said solenoids for selective actuation of said solenoids.

10. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 9 wherein said control means includes a control box, a slot in said box, a first series of said microswitches mounted along one side of said slot and means for closing one of said microswitches at a time to selectively actuate said solenoids.

11. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 10 wherein a second series of said microswitches are mounted along the other side of said slot, said first series containing microswitches for actuating said solenoids to drive the vehicle in the forward direction and said second series containing microswitches for actuati'ng said solenoids to drive the vehiclein the rearward direction. I

12. An adjustable motorized vehicle according to claim 11 wherein said control box has a control lever movably mounted in said slot with a handle at the distal end whereby said control lever can be brought into engagement with said microswitches to drive said vehicle in the desired direction.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification180/6.5, 280/35, 180/907, 297/DIG.400
International ClassificationA61G5/04
Cooperative ClassificationA61G5/042, A61G2203/14, A61G2005/128, Y10S297/04, Y10S180/907
European ClassificationA61G5/04A2