August 10, 2007 Even with years of practice the wear and tear on the body from utilizing a manual wheelchair is immense. Users experience ongoing pain (and in some cases long-term injury) in the arms and shoulders as a result of being reliant on manual force to propel the chair’s weight in addition to their own body weight. One company has sought to alleviate some of this pain by releasing new and innovative technology which is bringing wheelchairs up to speed.
‘MagicWheels’ refers to the 2-gear wheelchair drive system which took out a silver medal at the 2007 International Design Excellence Awards. The hypocycloidal reduction drive is a patented gear mechanism similar to that of a bicycle that allows the user to climb hills with half the effort and stop whilst making a journey upwards. The system works by attaching geared wheels to a conventional wheelchair and is compatible with about 75 per cent of regular chair models. The wheels are carbon-fibre and come in a sleek black design which improves the look of the chair.
Once attached the chair then operates in a normal mode the same as the original chair and in an additional 2:1 drive mode which allows users to climb hills, brake and stop with far less effort than would otherwise be required. Not quite as elaborate as battery powered wheelchairs [http://www.gizmag.com/go/6426/] the MagicWheels design certainly has a range of advantages for users. The technology offers easy shifting, high performance 4-speed dual hand rims and only adds a minimal 10lbs to the weight of the chair. For wheelchair users seeking enhanced function and usability without relying on batteries or motors then MagicWheels is certainly an excellent new solution.