Self-Taught Kenyan Innovator Creates Electric Wheelchairs from Scrap
Lincoln Wamae sees an opportunity when he sees a discarded laptop or any other scrap material in a junkyard. He makes custom electric wheelchairs from recycled scrap materials that he collects from junkyards.
It all started out as a hobby which turned into a passion and is now a business for Lincoln. The self-taught innovator plans to one day mass-produce his designs and sell them all over Africa.
30-year-old Nairobi resident, Lincoln scavenges scrap metal and electronics to create custom electronic wheelchairs. The goal behind this venture is to help Kenyans with physical disabilities regain their independence.
The chairs resemble motorized tricycles more than the typical wheelchair. Each piece is unique, as the seats are made from old office chairs and the wheels can be different in size, and they have handlebars as well for increased control.
His recycled models are durable with good stability and have a long-range because of the battery. The wheelchairs are powered by old laptop batteries and they are fast. In a demo, Lincoln peels across a dirt field, turning sharp corners with care.
The reason why I designed and started building the wheelchairs is because I saw people with disabilities had a lot of issues moving from Point A to Point B.
Many people have been benefitted from the innovative designs by Lincoln. Maryann Wanjiru has personally benefitted from one of Lincoln’s chairs. She has been partially paralyzed since she was 8 years old and struggled to get around on her own.
When fully charged, I can use it for up to three days. There is nowhere I cannot go.
There are over four million people are estimated to live in Kenya with disabilities. But Lincoln makes more than just wheelchairs: he has also made scooters, electric bikes and even motorized unicycles.
Lincoln is hoping to turn his skills into a business, and not only bring his chairs to more people across Kenya, but also figure out what other mobility issues he can solve with recycled materials.