By Anna Tolkovitsky and Matt Bullock
There is a new player on the solar market, with a futuristic solar-powered frame and nifty windshield design.
Meet Katie Fortunato, a 14-year-old high school sophomore from Bethesda, Maryland, who is a finalist in Prince William County’s Earthshot Cup.
Fortunato designed the solar wheel chair to help the visually impaired because she realized she was partially blind.
“I heard a lot of people having accidents and having to get around and those people having to use a manual wheel chair because their blind,” she says.
The 17-pound, solar-powered frame has a slick windshield that allows the user to see through the sun-powered frame. It attaches to the back of the legs of a full-time chair.
“I actually designed it to be solar-powered,” she says. “When the sun’s out, the wheel wheels are actually turning as the sun moves, so then when it’s dark, the sun-powered wheelchair is still moving.”
Fortunato’s unique invention may just win the $250,000 prize.
Video by Oliver Berben.