Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2019


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Robert Marks

Second Advisor

Gaetano Restivo


This senior design project sought to combine the best characteristics of manual and power wheelchairs by creating a battery-powered attachment to propel a manual wheelchair. The primary customer needs were determined to be affordability, portability, and travel on uneven surfaces. After the initial prototype, using a hub motor proved unsuccessful, so a second design was developed that consisted of a gear reduction motor and drive wheel connected to the back of the wheelchair by a trailing arm that could be easily attached/detached from the frame. The prototype of the second design succeeded in meeting most of the project goals related to cost, off-road capability, inclines, and range. Improvements can be made by reducing the attachment weight and improving user control of the device.