NIN: Where are you from?
Daniel Anand: I'm from Akron, Ohio.
Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to make this wheelchair that, essentially, stands up or lifts up?
Daniel: Well, ever since I've been young, my parents took me to the nursing homes to visit people there--
To visit relatives or just--
Daniel: Just everyone. We are a part of our church, so we are a part of that, grew up around that.
It's a program your church has?
Daniel: Yes, sir. So, while I was there, I saw that the people are always sitting and I wondered if there were health benefits if they could stand. And so, when I needed to get a science project, I remembered that. So, I researched it and I found out that they get muscle atrophy and blood circulatory problems and pressure sores from always sitting. Then I researched standing wheelchairs and found that there are already standing wheelchairs available, but most of them are $8,000 to $10,000. So I wanted to build one that is cheap and affordable that anyone could buy.
If people want to do this, to make this, do you teach them how, or have you been manufacturing more?
Daniel: I want to make blueprints available for anyone who wants to build it, so that it's like an open-source [project], anyone can build it.
That's great. But this the only one in existence at the moment?
Daniel: Um, yes, sir.
Has anyone tested it?
Daniel: Um, I tested it, and the piston that we have right now supports about 500 pounds, so it should be fine. But I would like to change the body, the seat, from wood-based to, maybe, 3D-printed plastic.
Great. Yeah, make it a little bit more comfortable. So, no one in the nursing home has tried it out just yet?
Daniel: No, sir.
Who's seen it other than the people at your school and at the faire?
Daniel: My neighbor, he helped me build it, and the people who were at Maker Faire Detroit which I took it to earlier this year.
And why did you choose to go with hydraulics rather than electronics?
Daniel: Well, I'd looked at pneumatics (pressurized gas), like what's in paintball guns, and that's really explosive so it had the potential to hurt the person. I also looked at other mechanisms, but those would have cost way more.
And what's the most expensive component out of all of this?
Daniel: Probably the hydraulic pump.
At what cost?
Daniel: It's about $150, almost $200 if you're getting a DC one.
And so the whole chair costs between $400 and $500?
Daniel: Yes, sir.
That's really cool. And, outside of wheelchairs, if you could change the way the world does something, could cure something or change something, anything, what would you make possible?
Daniel: Um ... I would make a cure for cancer.
Good answer. Thanks, Daniel. And the name of your company is “Make Not Break”?
Daniel: Yes, sir. That was actually my brother's idea.
It’s a pretty good idea :)
[Ed. Note, the table at Maker Faire adjacent to Daniel’s project belonged to his older (but still in high school) brother, who had developed a smart refrigerator to ensure you eat your fresh vegetable produce at its peak circadian rhythm time slot for maximal nutrition]
All photos by Elliot V. Kotek for NotImpossibleNow