Leveraged Freedom Chair

The Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC) is an all-terrain wheelchair designed for rural areas of developing countries. The key innovation behind the LFC is its single-speed, variable mechanical advantage drivetrain. The user propels the chair by pushing on the levers; gasping high increases torque, while grasping low increases speed. The drivetrain geometry was optimized considering human power and force capabilities, user physiology, and terrain types found in the developing world. This simple system achieves a 3:1 change in mechanical advantage, enabling LFC users to travel 80% faster and produce 50% higher peak wheel torque than they could with a conventional wheelchair. All moving parts on the LFC are made from bicycle parts found anywhere in the world, making the LFC locally repairable and comparable in price to other wheelchairs available in developing countries. The LFC is in production in India and can be purchased through Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT).


Global Research Innovation and Technology (GRIT)

Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (Jaipur Foot)

Pinnacle Industries

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Transitions Foundation of Guatemala

The Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya

Whirlwind Wheelchair International


KASI of Tanzania

MADE of Uganda


Singapore University of Technology and Design

Inter-American Development Bank

National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

MIT D-Lab program

Clinton Global Initiative

Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fellowship

MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

MIT Public Service Center

MIT IDEAS Competition

MIT Edgerton Center

MIT UROP program

Battelle India



Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Engineering Reverse Innovations [๐Ÿ”—]
Winter, A. & Govindarajan, V., Harvard Business Review (Jul-Aug 2015)

Developing World Users as Lead Users: A Case Study in Engineering Reverse Innovation [๐Ÿ”—]
Judge, B., Hรถlttรค-Otto, K., & Winter, A., Journal of Mechanical Design (2015)

Helping the Disabled Get Off-Road and On with Their Lives [๐Ÿ”—]
Winter, A., DEMAND: ASME Global Development Review (2013)

Peer Reviewed Conference Articles

Stakeholder and Constraint-Driven Innovation of a Novel, Lever-Propelled, All-Terrain Wheelchair [๐Ÿ”—]
Winter, A., 25th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, ASME IDETC/CIE (2013)

Stakeholder-Driven Design Evolution of the Leveraged Freedom Chair Developing World Wheelchair [๐Ÿ”—]
Winter V, A.G., Bollini, M.A., Judge, B.M., Scolnik, N.K., Oโ€™Hanley, H.F., Dorsch, D.S., Mukherjee, S., & Frey, D., ASME IMECE (2012)

Case Study: Leveraged Freedom Chair [๐Ÿ”— ]
Winter V, A.G., Childs, J., Tak, J., Core 77.(2011)

The Design, Fabrication, and Performance of the East African Trial Leveraged Freedom Chair [๐Ÿ”—]
Winter V, A.G, Bollini, M.A., DeLatte, D.H., Judge, B.M., Oโ€™Hanley, H.F., Pearlman, J.L., & Scolnik, N.K., 15th Design for Manufacturing and the Lifecycle Conference, ASME IDETC (2010)


Developing World Users as Lead Users: A Case Study in Engineering Reverse Innovation
Judge, B., Master's Thesis (MIT, 2014)