Calling for Power of Design in Action

Competition Details
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Wheeled Hand Tool Systems - WHaTS

by Gerry Hawkes
Co-authors:

In the aftermath of natural disasters survivors and rescuers are often hampered by lack of vehicle access, power outages and shortages of fuel. In struggling economies these problems are often prolonged and may even be part of daily life.

WHaTS are designed to provide effective, rugged, multi-purpose means of leveraging debris to free trapped survivors, transporting disaster victims, and moving supplies when roads are blocked and fuel is scarce. Following a disaster in a poor economy where unemployment is high, WHaTS with quick change attachments can be key to providing productive reconstruction work to poverty stricken local people while minimizing the costly importation of heavy equipment and fuel.

WHaTS, with their flatproof wheels, stainless steel axles, rugged steel frames and tool free assembly, are built to last for decades, Once disaster recovery is completed, WHaTS can play an important role in small scale, sustainable agriculture and construction as well as in local transport of goods and materials. Sick, disabled, and elderly may be easily rolled about in relative comfort with the People Mover application of WHaTS that is more stable, more adaptable to uneven ground, and less costly than a wheelchair. With WHaTS in daily use, they will be on the scene if a disaster strikes.

The WHaTS frame is designed to accept a wide range of rapid change attachments, tools, handles and hitches. In addition to the attachments shown on the web site, many more are planned. Since many attachments can be formed simply by bending heavy pipe, it is likely that users will be very creative. Following are a few of the WHaTS applications that have already been designed:
Wheeled Pry Bar
Rolling Lever
Rock & Debris Hauler
Firewood & Cargo Hauler
Post & Shrub Puller
Firewood & Cargo Trailer
People Mover
Plywood & Panel Hauler
Tool Carrier
Two person towing assist for large loads
High floatation, triple wheel configuration

The following applications are planned:
Bulk material hauler
Water hauler
Soil & gravel hauler
Cement mixer/transporter
Hitch for small draft animal
Mobile screening for soil, sand & gravel
Lifting and skidding tongs for small trees
Hay and crop rack
Barrel carrier
Mobile reels for wire fencing
Long object rack

WHaTS quickly and intuitively assemble without tools, so they ship and store compactly yet can be ready to work in a few minutes.