This collaboration between two Universities (CSUS and UCD), instituted by the Move At The Speed Of Life Foundation (MATSOL) and coordinated by Watwood, Inc. will develop new and enabling technology for an under-served segment of the disabled community; Hemiplegics. Hemiplegia, through trauma or disease has prevented it's victims from realizing the benefits of accessibility and physical exercise gained through the use of standard manual wheelchairs (SMW).

For over 150 years SMWs have been controlled by the occupant operators manipulating both rear wheels with either hand to advance, retreat, turn, maneuver or stop. There has been a long-standing desire and search for an effective one-armed propulsion system for the SMW. The Wijit Driving and Braking System (DBS®) generates sufficient thrust for one-armed control of the SMW, but lacks the necessary directional control due to the passivity of the front casters. Translating and transmitting the drivers desire to maneuver the wheelchair can be accomplished with directional casters.

The study focuses on refinements to the current Wijit DBS using one rear wheel only, with electronically controlled casters. Results gleaned through this refinement project will finally allow Hemiplegics to effectively operate the SMW.

We are pleased to report that tremendous progress has been made on the development of both the Mechanical and Electronic Steering mechanisms for Hemiplegic operators of manual wheelchairs.

Throughout the 2014 – 2015 academic year, MATSOL worked closely with both CSUS and UCD Senior Engineering Students and their respective Faculties.

The results are that the Students Prototypes were developed to the point that some initial field trials were performed with volunteer Hemiplegic patients. The prototypes performed quite well and the patients were extremely pleased to be able to successfully maneuver their wheelchairs and have requested working prototypes as soon as they are available.

The refinement of the design for the new “HemiDrive” progressed to the point that we were able to file for a Provisional Patent on the HemiDrive-M (Mechanical) model. The preparation for the Provisional Patent application for the HemiDrive-E (Electronic) is currently under way.

MATSOL is proud to announce that under the direction of Dr. Warren Smith, Faculty and Students in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at CSUS are going to continue with the refinement of the HemiDrive-E during the 2015 – 2016 academic year.

We are optimistic that the HemiDrive designs will be developed to the point of “production prototypes” by the end of the academic year 2016. At that time it is planned to submit working prototypes to LAREI for their live patient clinical trials measuring both patient and device performances.

MATSOL is greatly indebted to the Faculties and Students of both CSUS and UCD without whose dedicated commitment to this project, the progress detailed and pictured here would not have been possible.


California State University, Sacramento

Faculty: Warren Smith – Ph.D, Fethi Belkhouche – Ph.D, Dennis Dahlquist -PE, Russ Tatro – BA,BS, Akihiko Kumagai – Ph.D, Rustin Vogt – Ph.D.

Students: Steven Trinh, Jonathan Evangelista, Julio McClellan, Bogdan Svityashchuk and Xiaomeng (Christina) Zhang.


University of California, Davis

Faculty: Kyriacos A. Athanasiou – Ph.M, Anthony G. Passerini – Ph.D, Steven A. Lucero – BA.

Students: Chris Zikry, Phuong Dang, Dat Ho and Marcel Bernucci.