CanAssist

University of Victoria

Together we CanAssist.

Lawnmower for Power Chair

Technology description
This device enables adults who are proficient in using their power chairs to mow the lawn independently. CanAssist used a commercial electric mower and modified it to easily attach to a power chair and for maximum maneuverability and safety.

Key features

  • uses reel-style mower to minimize overall length and to maximize maneuverability
  • handles replaced by two metal arms that attach to the power chair's front frame
  • replaced wheels with four casters to further increase maneuverability
  • height adjustable
  • two quick-release mechanisms allow user to independently attach and detach mower
  • custom safety interlock switch prevents accidental starting
  • minimal mounting hardware remains on power chair

Who is it for?
For proficient power chair users who would like to be able to mow the lawn independently and safely.


Bill's story

In 2004, Bill's neck was broken in an accident that changed his life. Diagnosed with C5 quadriplegia, Bill now uses a wheelchair, has limited use of his arms, and is unable to move his fingers or wrists. Despite these challenges, Bill has a positive attitude and a desire to do as much as he can independently, especially around the home.

“I have been unable to help out in our yard since I broke my neck," says Bill, who lives with his wife and kids in Victoria and works for the provincial ferry system. "The burden of mowing our lawn has fallen on my wife since then.”

Unfortunately, no commercial products enable someone with Bill's physical limitations to mow the lawn. So Bill approached CanAssist with the hope that the team might be able to find a way for him to contribute in this area.

Bill tries out the new mower at UVic.After meeting with Bill, identifying his needs and challenges, and researching the marketplace, CanAssist's hardware engineering team designed the Lawnmower for Power Chair.

The project involved adapting a commercial mower so that it could be operated safely by someone who uses a power chair. In order to maintain maximum maneuverability, the team had to create the shortest possible overall length. Engineers connected the wheelchair to the mower using two lever-actuated, quick-release ball joints. These mechanisms were secured to the wheelchair's two arms, allowing the mower to pivot up and down and thus keep its blades at a constant height, regardless of the terrain. Other modifications included a safety switch that shuts the mower off if it is not held continually, front- and rear-mounted casters, and a safety shield to redirect lawn clippings and cover the blades.

Bill and his family are thrilled with the Lawnmower for Power Chair.

“This device is going to provide me the freedom, independence, and ability to help out around the house more,” said Bill. “For that, I am forever grateful.”


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