Free Wheelchair Mission and MIT Students Work Together on Handcycle Design and Testing

Irvine, CA, March 01, 2016 --( In November 2015, students in Matt McCambridge’s D-Lab: Mobility Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries course at MIT built a prototype of Free Wheelchair Mission’s GEN_4 handcycle.

The GEN_4 differs from FWM’s three previous generations of four-wheeled wheelchairs. The handcycle is a hand-pedaled tricycle that allows users to travel greater distances under their own strength.

In January 2016, McCambridge and some of his D-Lab students took the first manufactured GEN_4 to be field tested at UCP Wheels for Humanity’s field office in Indonesia. A group of handcylce users who had previously tested a variety of handcycles put the GEN_4 through a series of performance tests. The results and user feedback will help FWM evaluate its design as well as enhance the students’ understanding of wheelchair technology and engineering.

McCambridge said, “It was exciting for my students to participate in the development of a product that will have an impact on the large numbers of people which Free Wheelchair Mission reaches. It's great to see FWM engage people with disabilities in the design process by making early prototypes available for field testing. By listening to rider feedback, FWM improves the function and thus further increases the impact of each product they distribute."

FWM wheelchairs are simple, cost-effective and highly functional. They are designed to be resilient enough to withstand regular use in rugged terrain more common in developing countries. And they are provided at no cost to the recipients.

“We strive to design wheelchairs to meet the needs of the users, and we are grateful for MIT D-Lab’s help in developing and testing our first handcycle,” said FWM Founder and President Don Schoendorfer.

About Free Wheelchair Mission:
Free Wheelchair Mission is a humanitarian, faith-based, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Irvine, Calif. In collaboration with a network of like-minded partners, FWM has been providing wheelchairs to those in need around the world since 2001 providing dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility.

For more information about Free Wheelchair Mission, please visit
Free Wheelchair Mission
Michele Werner
(949) 273-8470