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Publication numberUS3905436 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 16, 1975
Filing dateApr 22, 1974
Priority dateApr 22, 1974
Publication numberUS 3905436 A, US 3905436A, US-A-3905436, US3905436 A, US3905436A
InventorsJr Andrew Karchak, James R Allen
Original AssigneeWheelchairs Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable wheelchair
US 3905436 A
Abstract
An adjustable wheelchair includes A. A CARRIAGE INCLUDING SUPPORT WHEELS, B. A SEAT AND A SUPPORT FRAME THEREFOR, C. A MOTOR DRIVEN ELEVATOR AND GUIDES FOR SUPPORTING THE SEAT AND FRAME FOR MOVEMENT RELATIVE TO THE CARRIAGE WHILE MAINTAINING THE FRAME AND SEAT FIRMLY CONNECTED WITH THE CARRIAGE, AND D. THE FRAME INCLUDES A PORTION PROXIMATE THE SEAT CONFIGURED FOR RETENTION BY CHAIR RETAINING STRUCTURE INTEGRAL WITH A MOTOR VEHICLE BODY IN RESPONSE TO SEAT AND FRAME MOVEMENT RELATIVE TO THE CARRIAGE.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Karchak, Jr. et al.

[ ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR [75] Inventors: Andrew Karchak, Jr.; James R.

Allen, both of Downey, Calif.

[73] Assignee: Wheelchairs, Inc., Paramount, Calif.

[22] Filed: Apr. 22, 1974 [21] Appl. No.: 462,665

[52] US. Cl ISO/6.5; l80/DIG. 3; 296/65 R; 297/71; 297/330; 297/DIG. 4

[51] Int. Cl. A61G 5/04; B6ON l/08; B62D 11/04 [58] Field of Search 180/65, DIG. 3; 296/65 R;

297/7l, 330, DIG. 4

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,7l0,659 6/1955 Moederle l80/DlG. 3

2,729,272 H1956 Lidge et all 297/DIG. 4

2,849,051 8/1958 Streeter 297/DIG. 4

3,lll,l8l ll/l963 Yatich ISO/6.5

3.376944 4/l968 Lotz 180/65 [451 Sept. 16, 1975 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 680,634 3/l930 France 296/65 R Primary ExaminerDavid Schonberg Assistant Examiner-John A. Pekar Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William W. Haefliger [5 7] ABSTRACT An adjustable wheelchair includes a. a carriage including support wheels,

b. a seat and a support frame therefor,

c. a motor driven elevator and guides for supporting the seat and frame for movement relative to the carriage while maintaining the frame and seat firmly connected with the carriage, and

d. the frame includes a portion proximate the seat configured for retention by chair retaining structure integral with a motor vehicle body in response to seat and frame movement relative to the carriage.

7 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATENTEU-BEP 1 ims 4 v 3305436 sum 1 15 3 PATENTED I 51975 3, 905 .436

IEJDQ ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to wheelchairs, and more particularly concerns adaptations of wheelchairs to motor vehicles, as well as improvements in the adjustment of wheelchair seats and the drive of such chairs.

Persons who are confined to wheelchairs may desire to operate motor vehicles such as vans; however the lifting of such persons into and out of drivers seats in such vehicles is a time consuming task and requires the aid of other people. According a need exists to provide a better and more convenient solution to this problem, and which will enable wheelchair occupants to drive and operate motor vehicles.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is a major object of the invention to provide a solution to the above problem, and which will enable wheelchair occupants to safely operate motor vehicles while remaining in such chairs. Basically, the invention is embodied in an adjustable wheelchair wherein the seat and support frame therefor are supported for movement relative to a wheeled carriage, as for example up and down relative to the carriage. As will be seen, a portion of the frame such as rails proximate the seat is configured for retention by chair retaining structure, as for example channels, integral with the motor vehicle, and typically up and down movement of the seat and frame adjusts the frame rails to channel height for reception and retention thereby.

Another object of the invention concerns the provision of a motorized drive optionally connected with the chair wheels in such a manner as to allow motor driving as well as Optional manual pushing of the chair, the drive also serving when denergized to brake the chair against forward and rearward travel. As a result, when the chair is located in a driver or other position in a vehicle, it may be locked in that position.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention, as well as the details of an illustrative embodiment, will be more fully understood from the following description and drawings, in which:

DRAWING DESCRIPTION FIG. 1 is a side elevation of a wheelchair embodying the invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view taken on lines 22 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a rear elevation on lines 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary section on lines 4-4 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged sectional elevation on lines 55 of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary elevation showing details or rear wheel drive; and

FIG. 7 is a schematic showing of a van, broken away to show the wheelchair of FIG. 1 mounted in drivers position in the van.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION The adjustable wheelchair l0 seen in the drawings includes a carriage 11 having front support wheels 12 and rear support wheels 13. Referring to FIG. 5, the front wheels may be supported as by axles l4, yokes 15 and bearing assemblies 16 to freely pivot about vertical axes 17; the assemblies 16 include shafts 18 connected at 19 with a carriage frame or base plate 20, as shown.

As seen in FIGS. 1-3 and 6, the rear wheels 13 may be supported and driven so as to enable manually controllable activation and deactivative of motor drives, which also control steering, whereby the chair may be driven in drive activated mode, and may alternatively be advanced as by pushing in motor deactivated mode. To this end, the motorized drive means connected with the wheels 13 may include two endless flexible drive elements, such as V-belts 24, each operatively connected with a rotor or sheave 25 driven by an electric motor 26 and with a rotor or sheave 27 connected with a wheel 13. A battery 28 selectively supplies current to the motors under the operators control via a control box 29 carrying a directional control toggle lever 30. Operation of the control may be as described in US. Pat. No. 3,749,192 to Karchak. Box 29 may be carried on arm rest unit 32 including frame member 33 and cushion 34. Battery 28 is carried by the frame structure 35 supported by base plate 20.

Further, means is provided to adjustably pivotally support the motors to control the tension in the flexible drive elements or belts 24, thereby to activate the transmission of drive to the rear wheels for motor driven mode, and to relieve tension in the belts when it is desired to free-wheel the wheelchair, as during manual pushing or pulling mode. As seen in FIG. 6, such means may include a mount in the form of a plate 37 (for example) for the two motors, the plate pivotally supported at 38 to tubular frame parts 39 so as to pivot about transverse axis 40. Accordingly, when the plate is pivoted downwardly to broken line position 37a, for example, the motors move to positions 26a relatively closer to the wheels 13, so that slack is produced in the belts 24, disabling transmission of drive to the wheels 13. A lever or levers 41 controls such pivoting, and includes legs 41a, 41b and 41c, the latter pivoted at 42 to the strut 43 which connects axle 21 to the frame 39, and leg 41a serving as a handle. Leg 41b pivotally supports, at 44, a post 45 carrying a threaded part 46 in which a belt tension adjusting nut 47 is rotatably carried. The nut supports the motor mount 37, with the upper end of part 46 projecting into a bore 47a in the mount, as shown. When the lever 41 is swung to broken line position 41d, stopping against the axle, the motor mount pivots downward to position 37a, as described. Conversely, when the lever is swung upwardly, the belts are tensioned for motor drive mode, the position of the nut 47 on part 46 determining the degree of belt tension.

An important aspect of the invention concerns the provision of means supporting the wheelchair seat 49 and support frame 50 therefor for movement relative to the carriage 11 while maintaining the frame 50 and seat 49 firmly connected with the carriage. In this regard, the frame 50 may include a portion, as for example forwardly extending rails 51 at opposite sides of the seat, configured for connection with chair retaining structure integral with a motor vehicle body, and in response to such seat and frame movement relative to the carriage. As a result, the wheelchair may be driven into and firmly positioned within a motor vehicle, such as van 52 in FIG. 7, so that the occupant may drive the van, the steering wheel of which appears at 53 directly in front of the received wheelchair.

In the example, the frame also includes transverse tubular elements 55 and 56 integral with the tubular rails,

a second horizontal plate 57 supporting the elements 52, 55 and 56, uprights 58 integral with rear extent of plate 57, and transverse bar 59 integral with the uprights. Seat 49 may be carried by the plate 57 or other frame structure. Arm rests 33 extend generally horizontally forwardly above the lever of the rails 51, and means such as sleeves 61 telescopically receiving opposite ends of rod or bar 59 hinge the arm rests for swinging movement, as for example upwardly as indicated by broken lines 33b in FIG. 1. Note elevated arm positions indicated by broken lines 33a. In this regard, and as will appear, the arm rests are thereby swung out of normal position so that the wheelchair occupant may steer the vehicle, without interference. If desired, the arm rests may be swung upwardly to vertical position and retained.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the means supporting the seat and frame for movement may include a motor driven elevator, as for example jackscrew 70, mounted on carriage 11 and connected with the frame 50, as at 71, to raise and lower the frame and seat. The jackscrew includes a threaded or cogged plunger 72 opera tively connected with electric drive motor 73 via a stepdown transmission unit 74, the motor and transmission being supported by carriage 11. A vertical guide for the plunger 72 is shown at 75 in FIG. 4. Linear guide units are also provided as at 76 to guide the raising and lowering of the seat and frame, and also to block undesired lateral movement thereof, relative to the carriage. Such units may include vertical guide pins 77 attached to plate 57, and sleeve bearings 78 within sleeves 79 attached to plate 20, the bearings closely receiving and guiding the pins.

FIG. 3 shows the provision of chair retaining structure, integral with the motor vehicle body, for receiving the rails 51 in raised condition of the seat, thereby to safely retain the wheelchair in driver position in the ve hicle. Such structure as shown in the form of channels 80 extending longitudinally forwardly to receive the raised rails as the wheelchair is advanced or driveninto driving position. Lifting of the levers 41 into raised position then locks the chair against forward and rearward movement, with the drive motors deenergized, due to the rotary motion blocking action of output speed reducing transmissions associated with motors 26. Up and down movement of the seat and frame enables adjustment of the rails 51 to channel height.

A foot rest 84 is operatively connected with the frame 50 and carriage 1 1, as via linkage 85, to raise the foot rest relative to the seat in response to lowering of the seat relative to the carriage, and to lower the foot rest relative to the seat in response to raising of the seat relative to the carriage..Linkage 85 includes links86 pivotally connected with the carriage at 87, links 88 pivotally connected at 89 with the frame extensions 90, and pins 91 pivotally interconnecting links 86 and 88. Foot rest 84 is carried by links 88.

We claim:

1. In an adjustable wheelchair,

a. a carriage including support wheels,

b. a seat and a support frame therefor,

-c. means supporting the seat and frame for movement relative to the carriage while maintaining the frame and seat firmly connected with the carriage, said means including a motor driven elevator mounted on the carriage and connected with the frame to raise and" lower the seat, and linear guides also mounted on the carriage and connected with the frame to guide said raising and lowering of the seat and to block lateral movement of the seat and frame relative to the carriage, and

d. the frame including a portion proximate the seat configured for retention by chair retaining structure integral with a motor vehicle body in response to said seat and frame movement relative to the V carriage, said portion integral with the frame.

2. The combination that includes the wheelchair of claim 1 together with said structure having the form of channels located to receive said portion having the form of rails at opposite sides of the seat.

3; The combination that includes the wheelchair and structure of claim 2 together with said motor vehicle body rigidly supporting said chair retaining structure.

4. The wheelchair of claim 1 including a drive means connected with said wheels for controllably rotating the wheels to advance the wheelchair in a selected direction.

5. The wheelchair of claim 4 wherein said drive means includes two endless flexible drive elements each operatively connected with a motor driven rotor and a wheel driving rotor, and means adjustably pivotally supporting the motors to control element tension, thereby to enable and disable the transmission of drive to the wheel driving rotors.

6. In an adjustable wheelchair,

a. a carriage including support wheels,

b. a seat and a support frame therefor,

c. means supporting the seat and frame for movement relative to the carriage while maintaining the frame and seat firmly connected with the carriage, said means including a motor driven elevator mounted on the carriage and connected with the frame to raise and lower the seat, and linear guides also mounted on the carriage and connected with the frame to guide said raising and lowering of the seat and to block lateral movement of the seat and frame relative to the carriage, and

. d. a foot rest, and a linkage operatively connecting the foot rest with the frame and carriage to raise the foot rest relative to the seat in response to lowering of the seat relative to the carriage, and to lower the foot rest relative to the seat in response to raising of the seat relative to the carriage.

7. In an adjustable wheelchair,

a. a carriage including support wheels,

b. a seat and a support frame therefor, and

0. means supporting the seat and frame for movement relative to the carriage while maintaining the frame and seat firmly connected with the carriage,

d. the frame including a portion proximate the seat configured for retention by chair retaining structure integral with a motor vehicle body in response to said seat and frame movement relative to the carriage, said portion comprising rails at opposite I sides of the seat, the chair having arm rests extending in generally horizontal positions above the level of said rails, and means hinging the arm rests to the frame for swinging movement away from said positions so that the wheelchair occupant may freely steer said motor vehicle without arm restobstruc-

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
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US2849051 *Dec 5, 1956Aug 26, 1958Ill George W StreeterConvertible wheeled chair
US3111181 *Jul 5, 1961Nov 19, 1963George D YatichPowered wheelchair
US3376944 *Nov 26, 1965Apr 9, 1968Everest & JenningsSelf-propelled wheel chair
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4076091 *Mar 30, 1976Feb 28, 1978Chair-E-Yacht, Inc.Self-propelled vehicle
US4141566 *May 11, 1977Feb 27, 1979David M. BenesWheelchair supporting sled
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US5078357 *Oct 16, 1990Jan 7, 1992Medical Resource Companies Of AmericaElectric seat lift
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US5862874 *Jun 19, 1997Jan 26, 1999University Of PittsburghSteering mechanism for short wheelbased four-wheeled vehicles
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US7641209 *Apr 12, 2004Jan 5, 2010Jeffrey Duncan WattersVehicle conversion assembly and method of converting a vehicle
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US8240410Apr 24, 2009Aug 14, 2012Hill-Rom Services, Inc.Patient support apparatus with powered wheel
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Classifications
U.S. Classification180/6.5, 297/DIG.400, 180/907, 297/330, 296/65.4, 297/71
International ClassificationB60N2/00, B60N2/24, A61G3/06, A61G5/10, A61G5/04
Cooperative ClassificationB60N2/00, A61G2005/125, A61G5/045, A61G5/1059, A61G2220/145, A61G3/06, A61G2005/128, B60N2/245, Y10S180/907, Y10S297/04
European ClassificationB60N2/24C, A61G3/06, B60N2/00