Engineering Grad Student, Scott Daigle, has developed a new set of manual wheelchair wheels dubbed the Intelliwheel AGS. AGS stands for "Automatic Gearing System" which makes this one smart wheel. These wheels utilize sensors to analyze the various conditions and sorts out the best gear to be in so that the user is maximizing his pushing effort. The best part is that this works without the user requiring any special training or change in their style: the user just pushes the wheels like a standard manual wheelchair and the wheels simply do the rest. While designed to ease hill climbing, this system can also be used to minimize shoulder pain and strain. Although these prototype wheels are still heavy at around 5 lbs. each, they can be of great source of relief to the 73% of manual chair users who currently developing shoulder problems due to use.
These wheels are, as previously mentioned, in the prototype phase and are currently undergoing heavy durability testing with a production prototype slated to be released around September of 2012 with consumer availability shortly after that. Hit the jump for more images.