Mind the g[ ]ap – wheelchair solution

Mind the g[ ]ap is a mechanical aid for wheelchairs trying to overcome the subway gap (and possibly others obstacles). 

Sutphin gap

As a part of assistive technology course, we met with Tamara, who works for Adaptive Design Association an organization which builds devices and modifications to help people with disabilities. Tamara told us about one very particular problem she has as a wheelchair user while using the subway. The gap between the platform and the train car is a big thing for her wheelchair and she often get stuck in there.


Along with Matthew Welt (OT stern school) we decided to take upon ourselves the challenge and find a mechanical solution for Tamara and maybe other people that experience the same problem to an issue walking people don’t normally even see. This may develop to other obstacles that wheelchairs find hard to pass.

The goal is that the 320 pound wheelchair will overcome repeatedly the subway gap, with our peg connected –  it would mean Tamara and other people experiencing a similar problem can be more independent and more calm about getting pass the subway gap safely.


rampWe begun with a ramp structure to simulate the gap (specifically Sutphin blvd subway station) in a 1:1 scale (as its not possible to try in the real place).

Mind the g[ ]ap was Selected for the NYU prototyping fund

Together with Tamara we presented at NYU PROTOTYPING SHOWCASE FALL’ 05 a very inspiring NYU prototyping program that selected us (and 7 other groups) to work on this project.


Next Steps:

Latching to the existing wheel, automating the linear movement of the peg with an actuator, setting a wireless control from the chair panel, find the correct materials for grip.


  • Aluminum
  • DC gearhead motor
  • Micro controller (Arduino)
  • Other mechanical parts.

Build a simulation of the gap –

  • Thick metallic sheets over wood.
  • Consist welding
  • Metal milling

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