Articles

ASME Student Project

Members of San Francisco State’s Student Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) are working with Whirlwind on building a hand-powered front-wheel-drive tricycle as a club project. The club has been responsible for welding, fabricating, and contributing to the iterative design process through testing. “The team of undergraduate students is learning valuable skills…
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Expanding the Whirlwind Team

We have met some great people through our partnership with United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) Wheels for Humanity in Jogja, Indonesia and our manufacturing partnership with PT Dharma in Jakarta. Recently, Indriyanto and Maria (at right) joined the Whirlwind team to help with engineering and sales. Indriyanto’s background in large-scale manufacturing adds a unique body of…
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The RoughRider Comes to the US!

Experience the outdoors like never before Whirlwind is now taking advance orders for the RoughRider on our Buy One Give One (BOGO) program. Hundreds of wheelchair riders who have contacted us are excited about where they’ll go in their own RoughRiders. The RoughRider was designed to handle rough outdoor conditions like the broken up sidewalks…
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Bolivian Disabled Activists Fight for Rights

Lack of mobility is only the first of many barriers that people with disabilities have to overcome in order to be able to fully participate in society. Perhaps no better example of this was on display in La Paz, Bolivia on February 23 when a large group of mobility impaired demonstrators confronted police at the…
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Ralf Testing Tire

Whirlwind Founder and Chief Engineer Ralf Hotchkiss spent most of the summer in Chinandega, Nicaragua working on, among other things, the “thorny” issue of flat-free tires. Above is a photo of Ralf at work. When traveling, Ralf rides a standard RoughRider off the assembly line and interacts with a diverse group of people with disabilities…
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Responsible Wheelchair Provision

Most people think that providing a wheelchair is a simple matter of buying one and giving it away.  But in order to avoid harm to the user and give the user the greatest degree of independence and mobility, wheelchair provision needs to include a whole series of steps starting with an initial screening and assessment…
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The Zimbabwe Wheel

In 1988, Co-Founder Ralf Hotchkiss was in a bustling Zimbabwe outdoor market when two boys caught his attention. The two boys were pushing a two-wheeled cart whose wheels were unlike any wheels Ralf had ever seen before.  The wheels were extremely wide and flexible, allowing easy movement over the most uneven of roads. Originally, the…
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Durability & Value: Understanding the Whirlwind Approach

What wheelchair is best? Can be determined differently by many people. Some riders request increased access to generally inaccessible areas. Others prefer comfort. Some require specific seating to better personal health. Many fall somewhere in between the three. In order to maximize one’s potential, regardless of physical ability, a wheelchair is most valuable when it…
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Wheelchair Assembly And Rider Training

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Whirlwind’s Ordering Process

Ordering RoughRiders® and the Wheelchair Provision Process The provision process should ideally begin with pre-identification of intended recipients.  From a pool of people who need wheelchairs in the locale where the wheelchairs are to be delivered, those who are not good candidates for the chairs that are to be delivered are screened out.  Those remaining in…
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