Travis Watkins, 28, has a father who suffers from Lou Gehrig’s, a paralyzing disease that permanently made a wheel chair his father’s second home. So, when Watkins was given the opportunity to create an engineering project that would help the disabled, he immediately thought of his father. With the help of a handful of University of South Florida students, Watkins designed the 150 pound OFF-Road WheelChair that is capable of traversing any terrain — uneven, rocky, or sandy. His father can now explore the Florida beach with ease.
The OFF-Road WheelChair is essentially a moving platform that accepts and securely attaches to any ordinary wheelchair. It currently costs $4,495 USD and is being sold at Rehab Ideas, a spin-off company of the University of South Florida. Optional upgrades are also available. There’s the “No Limitations Sidways Wheelchair Kit” that adds two additional wheels that allows for lateral movement in tight spaces. Then there’s the “No Dependency Trakpak” that adds a backpack to the rear of the wheel chair and an arm to easily retrieve items in the backpack. Finally, there’s the “No Restrictions Folding Tray Kit” which adds a tray on either side of the wheelchair to place books and other items.
The OFF-Road WheelChair is currently being tested by Christopher Rhoades, a 19-year-old freshman, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. He has been seen roaming around campus with ease and a smile on his face.