The Freewheel is a fitness tracker for people who use wheelchairs. The device, brought to life by Accenture’s Chaotic Moon, can be attached to a wheelchair, collect various movement data, and send that information to a smartphone or smartwatch. The possible applications, however, extend well beyond wheelchairs.
The idea for the world’s first wheelchair fitness tracker came from the technology studio’s content strategist, Tyler Hively, who realized the opportunity after talking with his sister, an occupational therapist, about fitness and wheelchair users. “We realized that nothing really existed for fitness tracking, and thought, ‘Hey, this is important. Why not create something?’”
Hively brought the idea to Chaotic Moon’s BASE innovation team, which brought together their hardware and software ingenuity to build the Freewheel, a device that houses a gyroscope, accelerometer, barometer, and Hall effect sensors. As a result, the Freewheel can measure speed, acceleration, distance, altitude, incline, and decline. This data is sent to a smartphone or smartwatch via Bluetooth LE and can be combined with other information such as heart rate from smartwatches.
The long game for the Freewheel looks beyond fitness and wheelchairs. Chaotic Moon hopes to crowdsource and aggregate data from the device to eventually map terrain to inform hikers, bikers, and anyone else looking to traverse a city or mountain, for instance.
Chaotic Moon CEO Ben Lamm says the company has “gotten our patents straight” and will be putting the finishing touches on the Freehwheel in the next few months, though there’s no set release date.