A group of engineering students at Stevens Institute of Technology have redefined the way manual wheelchair users go to the grocery store. The Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Team has invented a motorized shopping basket for sale or lease to large grocery stores that will allow manual wheelchair users to easily navigate the aisles of the store, as well as make large shopping trips, all while using their own wheelchair.
Dr. Arthur Ritter, Program Director for the Biomedical Engineering gave the team, comprised of Greg Bremer, Gabriella Reyes, Samantha Samuel, and Ben Scatuorchio, the idea of inventing a better wheelchair attachment for use as a shopping basket. After assessing the current tools available to wheelchair users in a grocery store, the team decided to go in a different direction and rethink the basket itself.
With grocery store options currently limited to the motorized scooter with a small basket or full-size shopping carts that are difficult to use effectively, the only other option for wheelchair users wishing to use their own wheelchairs is to balance small baskets on their laps or hang bags behind their chairs. None of those options, however, assist a wheelchair user who wants to go on a large shopping trip.
To overcome this obstacle, the Senior team developed a motorized basket that acts as a tool rather than a mode of transportation. The device, known as “The Revolver” due to the basket’s rotating feature when groceries are deposited, allows the shopper to utilize the entire space of the larger basket. Both the dimensions and power capabilities meet the needs of shopping from a wheelchair and exceed the Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
Currently, “The Revolver” is being marketed to large supermarkets that exceed $2 million in profits per year. The baskets can either be sold or leased. The device is much less expensive when compared to offering customers less desirable options currently available, and the baskets even offer space for advertisements, further lowering their cost to the supermarkets.