Rough ride

Engineering students from Nottingham University have designed a cheap off-road wheelchair made from bicycle parts to help disabled people cope with rough terrain in developing countries.

Many wheelchairs are donated to developing countries but their ability to cope with rough ground and uneven tracks is limited.

Equipped with deep tread mountain-bike tyres, the wheelchair has been designed with front-driven wheels and a small wheel at the back to stop it tipping backwards.

This gives it extra pushing-power to improve manoeuvrability over mud and sand.

Dr Mike Clifford, leader of the project, said: ‘Many wheelchairs are donated by charities for use in developing countries with the best of intentions, but the conditions they face are very different from in the UK. However, this wheelchair is designed with Africa in mind.’

Every year, the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering stages an exhibition of its fourth-year group projects.

It is a chance for staff to study the projects in more detail as part of the student’s final assessment before graduation in July.

This year marks the first time that invited guests have been able to see the students’ work.

Professor Tom Hyde, head of the school of mechanical, materials and manufacturing engineering, said: ‘We are very proud of the high standard achieved and have decided to open our exhibition to external guests this year so that industrialists can see the projects and talk to the graduating students.’