Martin McGilligan, MCG Mobility has teamed up with H360, part of the Hutchinson Group, to invent a ‘stand alone’ adaptable wheelchair lift at a competitive price, offering greater accessibility to those who could not previously afford it.
Previously, ‘all-in-one’ wheelchairs that raise and lower the user have cost thousands of pounds, pricing many individuals out of the market. This invention, the ALTO, comprises a scissor lift mounted onto the users existing wheelchair, allowing the user to be raised and lowered, enhancing quality of life. The ALTO can be easily attached or detached by the user allowing for a range of benefits, including; increased independence, safe working at standard height appliances, e.g. cookers and a reduced dependency on others.
Ian Ferguson, Senior Design Engineer at H360, said: “The ALTO will be adaptable to various designs of wheelchair. We are currently working on adapting the structure for different models of wheelchair, so it is difficult to project costs for each lift structure as they may have to be designed bespoke. As we are mounting an attachment on to the user’s existing wheelchair, this drastically cuts the costs instead of the user having to purchase expensive ‘all-in-one’ wheelchairs.
Martin McGilligan, MCG Mobility explained: “I first encountered some of the difficulties faced by wheelchair users at the age of 16 when my younger sister, who was born with spina bifida, began to use a wheelchair more and more until eventually becoming a full-time wheelchair user.
“Most of the world around us has been designed to accommodate the able bodied population, particularly when in a standing position. Other solutions on the market with the height function built in were highly expensive and couldn’t be easily transported, meaning the user had to once again depend on others for mobility. I spent several years from an A-Level technology and design project to now working on a range of products that would give wheelchair users actual independence.
“I must say thank you to H360. I came to the company with the original concept designs, but it was Ian and his team’s hard work and dedication that brought my vision to life. My sister is now using the ALTO and it really has changed her life for the better.”
"The ALTO wheelchair lift is essentially a very compact small scissor lift that facilitates the attachment of various types of rigid wheelchairs. The basic design incorporates several, mostly tubular steel sub assemblies that make up the overall assembly. Aside from the standard flat bed laser cut parts we have the ability to utilise tube laser technology, which greatly enhanced the simplicity of both the design and the manufacturing process. Tubes that interlink through tabbing and slotting easily help maintain a consistent level of accuracy throughout the assembly and fabrication process."