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National Runner Up

IF Brake

IF Brake is a wheelchair brake based on the ratchet mechanism which provides a secure and flexible braking.

What it does

The braking system is activated on response to the detection of obstacles or inclination; the brake allows the chair to move only in one direction depending on the case. This way, a pacient with visual and physical limitations will be able to move with ease.

Your inspiration

Analyzing the functioning of a socket wrench mechanism and thinking a possible aplication to the Biomedical Engineering field, we realized that the essence of the mechanism is to restrict movement in a certain direction. Therefore, we decided to focus the idea on a wheelchair brake, by braking and allowing movement in an opposite direction.

How it works

Two ultrasonic sensors placed on the side of the footrests detect the presence of an obstacle in the direction the wheelchair is moving. At the same time, a gyroscope detects the chair inclination. When any of the thresholds of obstacle or inclination is passed, the electronic control (Arduino Mega) activates a group of servomotors distribuited on the sides of the chair. These motors activate the ratchet mechanism and the braking system. The chair is capable of moving in one direction, whereas in the other one, it completly brakes. When an obstacle is detected, the chair will not move forward, only backwards. When the chair is upchill, it will only move forward.

Design process

Brake mechanism design was made on CAD Software SolidWorks 2018, this design was 3D printed on ABS plastic at 100% infill for better resistance. The electronic control was implemented on an Arduino Mega and its IDE Software. First, we bought the ultrasonic (obstacles) and inclination sensors to test, calibrate and program them. Then we proceeded to design the ratchet mechanism on a design software. At first, it was difficult to acknowledge the dimentions of our design but with hard work and study, we came up with the best and final version of the pieces. To chose the material we had many options but the best one was ABS plastic, because of its resistance and durability. The assembly of the mechanical and electronic parts was the next phase of our project, we did our best to put together a functional and aesthetic system. And last but no least, he power source of the system is an external battery which provides 5 V and 20 A. It powers the servomotors and the Arduino MEGA.

How it is different

IF Brake is a low-cost, fast and effective brake system potencially available for most wheelchair users.

Future plans

We want to obtain a desing, production and distribution line to reach a lot of people.


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