An Interview with Geoff Howe, the Co-Creator of Ripchair 3.0

Last week we featured an article on the Ripchair 3.0, a tracked all-terrain wheelchair adaption which allows its user to negotiate everything from mountainsides to marshlands. On the back of that we managed to arrange an interview with co-founder of Howe & Howe, Geoff Howe, who was kind enough to talk to us about the Ripchair, the company’s take on mobility technology and their latest projects.

The Howe brothers are engineers based in Maine, USA. They have gained some fame in their home country thanks to their designs of unique military equipment and for the eponymously named Howe & Howe Tech, a reality show about their lives and the company. Geoff and his brother, Mike, say that when designing and building machines they have to meet a simple criterion: that they have to be for the common good. The Ripchair came about from the brothers knowing people who used wheelchairs and wanting to do something which would allow them to go places and do things otherwise off-limits to them. While there are other tracked chairs available (see The Tankchair) the Ripchair, Geoff claims, is set apart on two fronts. Firstly, he asserts, it’s the most ‘badass’ of the options available and secondly it’s the only chair which requires no transfer. This second point was a main focus in the brothers’ design process as they had found from the people they knew with disabilities, particularly para- and quadriplegics, that transferring between chairs can be time-consuming and inconvenient and so the chair being able to accommodate the user’s wheelchair was a must for them. The Ripchair is also powered by a diesel engine, another must in the design, as it was thought that batteries which required charging would be too unreliable when travelling off-road and could wind up leaving the user stranded.

The design process used by Howe & Howe is also worth noting. While expert mechanics, Geoff acknowledges that they are no experts on disability and so they employed a ‘Visionary Council’, a group of people with various disabilities from different age groups and backgrounds, to find out what features would be most important and useful to them. This inclusive approach to design has allowed them to build a machine which they believe to be the best at what it does and incorporate features and design specs which will be best suited to its users. As stated before the Ripchair 3.0 is still outside most people’s price range, but is still an interesting take on mobility technology. Howe & Howe’s latest intended project is no less unique; a purpose built theme park for people with physical disabilities.

Follow the links below if you’d like to find out more about Howe & Howe Technologies or any of their projects such as Outdoors Again (a non-profit organisation which takes people with disabilities on a range of outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing).

 

Howe & Howe Tech: http://www.howeandhowe.com/about-us.html

Outdoors Again: http://www.outdoorsagain.org/

 

Sign Up to receive our weekly bulletin and comment on discussions!

Liked what you just read? See below for more discussions on bespoken....

 

Mike Layward & DASH Art

 

 

 

 

Jane Hatton: "Let's think about what I can do"

 

 

 

 

The S'up Spoon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views: 1294

Reply to This

© 2024   Created by Gordon White.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service