Monday, October 18, 2021

Teen develops this futuristic solar-powered chair

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.

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