I have been working on a design that I could pilot on my own. This will be a huge accomplishment if I can pull it off.There are two main things that need to be done in order to pilot a kite buggy. The first is flying the kite, the second is steering. An able-bodied person flies a kite with their arms and steers with their feet. My particular disability has rendered my legs useless which is why I made the Spider Crab a two-seater. With this design, one or two people would fly the kite(s) and one person would steer. It is going to be a fantastic toy and training platform and I can’t wait to use it and share it with others.
I thought a long time about how I would steer a single person buggy without my legs. The signal needed to control a servo for steering needs to be two ways and also analog, meaning it’s not just on or off but everything between on or off also.
My first thought was a bite sensor. I talked with engineers who proposed voice recognition and monitoring brain activity as potential ways to steer a buggy. I finally decided on a way that’s been used by quadriplegics for years… sip and puff. Sip and puff is just a nice way to say suck and blow into a tube. It’s two directional, analog, and it’s isolated from the movement of my arms. Best of all it’s a tried-and-true system. I think it’s going to work GREAT.
Not only will this new single seater kite buggy be a first in the disabled world, I am hoping it will prove to be a superior design to traditional crab buggies as well. By utilizing a reverse crab layout and by moving heavy components to the rear of the buggy, I was able to move the center of gravity of the entire vehicle to just behind the attachment point of the kite. By doing this the worst feature of the traditional crab buggy design was eliminated, the tendency of the buggy to flip over forward in the event of a strong pull from the kite. The buggy will also handle better as the center of gravity and the attachment point of the kite are much closer to the center of the two steering wheels.
There are many other aspects of the design that I like a lot but I will save those points for a different post. In the meantime… The Solo Crab: