Leveraged Freedom Chair

Video: Overview of Leveraged Freedom Chair

The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is a low-cost, lever-powered, all-terrain wheelchair that enables people with disabilities in developing countries to move beyond the pavement, providing them with the mobility they need to lead independent lives. The LFC's lever-powered drivetrain enables travel on rough terrain and for long distances, as the user can intuitively change gears by moving hand position on the levers.

What inspired you to get involved with this work?
When I was a freshman, I stumbled into a seminar called SP.784, Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries, taught by Amos Winter SM ’05, PhD ’11. The summer following this class, the PSC supported me to travel to Tanzania and work with a local wheelchair workshop. This experience gave me firsthand exposure to the difficulties faced by wheelchair users in developing countries and inspired me to develop solutions that would improve their lives. What started as a summer fellowship would ultimately evolve into my full-time job.

What impact have you achieved on the communities you serve?
Approximately 60 people in countries ranging from India to Haiti are currently using the LFC, and we are preparing to scale our distribution and bring the product to many more people around the world in the next year.

How did the PSC play a role in your work?
Had it not been for that first PSC Fellowship the summer after my freshman year, I don't think I would be where I am today. The PSC enabled me to travel and experience firsthand the issues I was trying to solve, which provided the ultimate inspiration for the work I am doing today.

How has this work had a personal impact on you?
Some of my fondest memories from my undergraduate experience at MIT are from the times I spent in East Africa as a PSC Fellow. These experiences taught me things you just cannot learn in the classroom.

Tish Scolnik '10
Chief Executive Officer