Anti-rollback for pushing wheelchair up hills?

July 22, 2016 in Challenge

We’re helping HackOnWheels create the world’s first open source, fully customisable wheelchair. (Wow!) This wheelchair challenge was raised at a recent HackOnWheels maker day – can you offer some advice or a solution?

Standard manual wheelchair brakes are like a handbrake, either on or off. Is there a different type of brake that would stop the wheelchair rolling backwards when going up a ramp or a steep hill?

Please leave a comment if you’ve fixed this yourself or have an idea that might help someone with this challenge!

4 responses to Anti-rollback for pushing wheelchair up hills?

  1. One way to provide a solution here would be to incorporate either a proprietary clutch mechanism into the hub of the wheelchair that could be engaged or disengaged, or to repurpose the mechanism within a bicycle freewheel (the ratchet system that allows you to pedal forwards but to then stop pedalling and allow the bicycle to coast)

    This could either be build into the hub of the wheelchair wheels, and activated and deactivated by something constraining the movement of the freewheel assembly, or a small wheel containing a freewheel mechanism could be clamped directly against the tire (similar to the way that some wheelchair brakes work) that would allow the wheel to roll in one direction only. I would love to provide some sketches of ideas if there is a way to facilitate that.

  2. Hi Sam, If you click the ‘Create Solution’ button at the top of the post that should enable you to write up an explanation and upload your sketches. You’ll have to be logged in to create the post, but its quick and easy to sign up and you’ll never get spam. Click here to sign up now!

  3. Just watching I’ve not got any idea but I know it’s impossible to get up hills ,even can be differcult with a powerchair I know it’s harder to go up straight better go zigzag up a hill deepening on how busy the area is hope this helps get you a answer would be intmyself with that

  4. I don’t know if this is helpful, but I know at least one company that makes anti-rollback breaks. I’m not sure what kind of technology they use. Here is a link to an article on their website where they speak a bit about the product:,ramp%20at%20a%20comfortable%20pace.

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