-------- CUSTOMIZED ADAPTATION --------- PURPOSE: To create a custom adapted horse-drawn cart for use with a manual or electronic wheelchair by children with mobility disabilities. Using a standard horse-drawn cart as a base, a cart was designed which meets all of Australia's Riding for the Disabled organization’s needs. It has a sturdy chassis made from steel tubing, with marine-grade plywood panels and floor and fabricated metal mudguards. Horse-drawn carts generally have big wheels which make them high so that the driver can see over the top of the horse; however, in this version the wheels are very low-slung, with the floor of the cart only 30 centimeters from the ground. The wheel and cart being lower to the ground provides added stability and prevents the cart from rolling over. Instead of the usual spoke wheels with a timber or steel rim the cart uses smaller car tires. The tailgate of the cart consists of two hinged sections which fold down to form a ramp for wheelchair access. When folded down, the first section is supported by a leg between the two sections, and the second section rests on the ground. To make it easier to unfold the sections, there is a handle in the center of the lower section. When folded up, the two sections form a sturdy back panel which is extra protection against the wheelchair rolling out of the cart, if by chance it became unsecured. The back is locked in place with a pin on either side, similar to a tailgate on a truck or trailer and it’s fully contained so the pin can’t come all the way out and get lost. The cart has three seats. The two outside seats each have two arms, so the outer arms create a safety railing and the inner arms create divisions between the seats which help to keep the passengers in position. The seats and seat backs are upholstered with vinyl covered foam. The center and right seats are removable to provide space for a wheelchair. These seats are held in place by four locking pins, which are easy for a trained person to take out but may be too difficult for someone with a disability to remove. The center seat rests on the outer pins and lifts out first, followed by the outer one. When an electric wheelchair is in place instead of the two seats, it needs to be in exactly the right position so its weight is equally distributed to the front and back wheels of the cart. It also needs to be firmly secured so it doesn’t move and change the balance of the cart during travel; therefore, toggle clamps similar to those used for securing wheelchairs in buses were added. On the side wall left of the driver’s seat there is a foot-operated brake which uses a car hand-brake mechanism, and has a hand lever to lock it on. This can be used to keep the cart completely still while the passengers are boarding, even if the horse moves a little. It can also be used as a parking brake when necessary such as when the cart is on a hill. To make the ride as comfortable as possible, the cart has leaf springs from a car suspension, which were chosen for their load-carrying capacity. The capacity can be adjusted by adding or removing leaves to the spring—this sort of bar is used on most horse-drawn vehicles of this type. The bar swivels as the horse turns to maintain an equal load on both sides. Once complete, the frame was painted maroon and the outside panels a cheerful yellow, with grey anti-slip paving paint on the floor of the cart and the ramp. TITLE: Horse-drawn pleasure. JOURNAL: TAD Journal. REF: Volume 31, Number 1, Summer 2011: pp. 6-7. PAGES: 3 with cover.
This product record was updated on November 6, 2011.
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Technical Aid to the Disabled (TAD)TADNSW is a charity organisation that has the authority to fundraise. TAD uses volunteers dedicated to the design, construction and provision of aids for people with disabilities. Members of TAD provide a resource pool comprising a range of design, engineering, rehabilitation, computer, therapy and other professional and technical skills. Aids custom-designed by TAD volunteers are described in the TAD Journal.
Locked Bag 2008
Wentworthville, New South Wales 2145
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