Custom Engineered Wheels Revolutionize Power Wheelchair Safety

As detailed in Design World Online’s article “How injection molding can help power wheelchair applications,” Barry and Jered Dean found themselves facing a significant challenge: ensuring the safety of Barry’s daughter, Katherine, in her power wheelchair. After experiencing injuries due to a wheelchair accident, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

With Barry, a Grammy-nominated Nashville songwriter, and Jered, a design engineer, at the helm, they conceptualized LUCI—an attachable accessory system for power wheelchairs. Partnering with Protolabs, they brought LUCI to life, integrating smart technology to enhance stability, security, and connectivity.

LUCI’s innovative hardware and software provide power wheelchairs with a comprehensive view of their surroundings, enabling collision avoidance, drop-off detection, and tipping hazard alerts. Utilizing a blend of stereo-vision cameras, infrared, ultrasonic, and radar sensors, LUCI ensures safety through advanced technology.

Establishing the LUCI company in 2017, with Barry as CEO and Jered as chief technology officer, the Dean brothers launched their product in 2021. Garnering accolades such as Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2020 and Popular Science’s Best of What’s New, LUCI has quickly made its mark in the industry.

Addressing design challenges, particularly in housing the radar sensors, the Deans relied on Protolabs for injection molding of plastic prototypes and production parts. The challenge lay in creating “invisible” housings that allow radar sensors to function effectively while maintaining thinness and material integrity.

Custom Engineered Wheels’ journey exemplifies innovation and dedication to enhancing power wheelchair safety, offering a transformative solution for individuals like Katherine and beyond.

Click here to learn more about Custom Engineered Wheels’ capabilities and products.

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