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Their Action Research: 




As a part of our participation in the fellowship, we worked with Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI), a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to building wheelchairs for quality mobility in different environments and terrains. WWI defines a quality wheelchair as one that is “safe, durable, locally repairable, and highly useable for the rider.” WWI has had considerable success with their RoughRider wheelchair and is planning to enter trike market. This trike will be designed in such that it can be used as a potential microbusiness. To assist WWI in designing the prototype, we went to Vietnam and the Philippines to interview current trike users about their experiences. We specifically targeted those whom used their trikes to as a microbusiness or as a means of earning income. Ideally, their narratives would help us elucidate the effectiveness of the current trike designs, and this work will support WWI in their final trike design. We left for Asia in August 2012, working with Kien Tuong in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (House with No Steps) in Manila, Philippines.

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Read Their Research Report:








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Whirlwind Wheelchair Final Report


by Nate Funkhouser and Stella Tran

WWI has had considerable success with their RoughRider wheelchair and is planning to enter the trike market. This trike will be designed in such a fashion that it can be used as a potential microbusiness. To assist WWI in designing the prototype, we traveled to Vietnam and the Philippines to interview current trike users about their experiences. We specifically targeted those whom used their trikes to as a microbusiness or as a means of earning income. Ideally, their narratives would help us elucidate the effectiveness of the current trike designs, and this work will support WWI in their final manual-powered trike design. While we had many microbusinesses in mind, we found that the market opportunity for the differently abled in Vietnam and the Philippines to be dissimilar with our expectations entering the field. In Vietnam, social barriers existed barring the differently abled from expanding outside of lottery ticket sales. In the Philippines, it was too difficult to maneuver the city without a motorized vehicle. Before Whirlwind creates opportunities for trike riders in any country, it must understand the specific context to ascertain whether the technology and business solutions are appropriate.

 



Meet The Students:

 


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Nate Funkhouser
Political Science

Stella Tran
Accounting




 
 
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