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Wheelchairs

Gain the height advantage in business dealings with the Chariot

Wheelchairs serve the important function of giving those who have difficulty walking their independence. They’re a tried and true technology whose design has remained largely unchanged for many years due to the effectiveness and simplicity of the design. For all their usefulness though wheelchairs do have a number of drawbacks - they force the users into a seated position, making interacting with a world designed for upright people frustrating as well as not being able to interact with those standing at their level. A new concept vehicle from Exmovere Holdings called the Chariot makes these problems a thing of the past by letting amputees and others who have difficulty standing move around in an upright position.  Read More

The Brain-Computer Interface allows control a robotic arm

Researchers at the University of South Florida have designed a system that uses an Electroencephalograph (EEG) to read the brain waves of wheelchair-bound people and allows them to control a robotic arm with their thoughts. The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) captures P300 brain wave responses, the consistently detectable brain waves associated with decision making, and transmits instructions to the robo-arm “without the user moving a muscle.”  Read More

Marcus Cunnington and his ultra-light creations

May 13, 2008 Drawing on a background that ranges from experience as an aerospace technician to a stint in research and development on the Williams F1 team, Marcus Cunnington has designed and built the 6.3kg (around 13.9 pounds) Free Spirit - a carbon fiber composite design that claims the mantle of the world's lightest manual rigid wheelchair.  Read More

Magic Wheelchair: More mileage, less effort

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.  Read More

The autonomous wheelchair raises the promise of assistive mobile robots

December 17, 2006 There are few areas in which technology can make such a great difference as in mobility assistance for the disabled and aged market. We’ve already written about Kanagawa Institute of Technology’s Power Assist Suit, Independence Technology’s iBot, and a mind-controlled wheelchair, but the announcement this week that researchers in Sweden have developed a wheelchair that can be driven manually, by remote controlled or fully autonomously suggests that devices enabling the most severely handicapped people to achieve independent mobility are inevitable .  Read More

The Fuel Cell Wheelchair

November 3, 2006 We’re growing more convinced by the day that the future of mobility does not look like the automobile – we suspect the old concept of lugging a few tons of steel around to carry one or two people will be seen as excessively wasteful very soon, and accordingly expect the market for short-distance, one and two person transport to offer a plethora of interesting alternatives. Like this one! Suzuki is showing an interesting fuel-cell-powered wheelchair prototype named the MIO to assess customer interest. The MIO features a fuel cell that uses methanol as a fuel source to generate hydrogen and therefore electricity. The tank holds 4 litres and that’s sufficient to provide MIO with a range of approximately 25 miles. There’s also an LCD display showing fuel level and power sources. Therefore, unlike wheelchairs that rely solely on mains charging of the battery, it addresses users’ fears of being stranded at some distance from their home.  Read More

The wheelchair-accessible limousine

September 22, 2006 Dignity Transportation caters for those in the Canadian community with special transportation needs. As its fleet has grown, it has commissioned numerous specially-built transportation designs from wheel-chair accessible taxies to full size vans to wheelchair accessible buses. Recognizing there was a demand for a truly luxurious wheelchair accessible limousine. The result is the Dignity Star, an 8 passenger limo-inside-a-van that began life as a 2006 Dodge High Roof Sprinter 2500 SHC. Believed to be the only such vehicle in North America, the luxurious wheelchair-accessible limousine accommodates two wheelchairs and six people on a curved leather couch and takes Special Needs Transportation to a new level. Inside it’s the usual over-the-top spec with control over everything from climate control to a 20" LCD TV, five-speaker sound system with four sets of wireless headphones, laptop connectivity, DVD/CD system, ad infinitum. In terms of accessibility, it has the lot.  Read More

The Standing Wheelchair

August 17, 2006 With Segway releasing its second generation design earlier this week, this Standing WheelChair concept showcased on CoolHunter becomes much closer to reality – indeed, we’d be very surprised if the remarkably fertile mind of Dean Kamen, who is responsible for both the Segway and the iBot hadn’t thought of this along the way given that the iBot morphs both concepts, and can be further extended to the four-wheeled Segway Centaur. Then there’s traces of BRP’s Embrio one-wheeler, Tommy Forsgren’s Hermes concept (still one of the most inspiring and appealing designs we have ever seen) and of course the use of Osmos’ wheel technology always adds a bit of sex appeal to any design. The standing wheelchair allows people to stand upright. For those with full mobility, it looks like fun, for those who are handicapped in their mobility, such a device would be enormously empowering.  Read More

The WheelChair Mover - an Ergonomic Mobility Solution

August 16, 2006 With a workforce that is growing older and both patients and facilities that are growing larger, hospitals and nursing home caregivers are enduring the highest rate of injury of any occupation. That’s the broad thinking that resulted in Dane Technologies’ WheelChair Mover, the healthcare industry's first power-assist device making patient wheelchair transport safe, smooth and easy.  Read More

Carbon fibre monocoque wheelchair

June 15, 2006 With the post-war baby boom now moving towards senior citizenship, markets for many specialised goods and services devoted to elderly needs are about to mushroom and one that’s certain to reach unprecedented heights is that of wheelchairs. The proportion of the population using wheelchairs increases sharply with age with roughly 3% of people over 65 using them and as an unprecedented number of fashion- and status- conscious boomers reach their seventies, designer wheelchairs and other mobility aids will be big business. Accordingly, when a manufacturer of WRC and Formula One race car parts turns his hand to wheelchair design, we expect there’ll be an equally exclusive market for high tech practical wheelchairs and the Trekinetic K2 launched at the UK’s Mobility Roadshow last weekend certainly fits that bill. Built by designer Mike Spindle, the K2 is entirely new in every respect. Gone is the old tubular frame, replaced with a carbon fiber monocoque based around the seat. Similarly, the layout has been rearranged with two large wheels with adjustable camber at the front and singular rear trailing castor for excellent stability and the ability to negotiate uneven (off road) terrain. It also has adjustable height via an adjustable nitrogen shock absorber, is extremely light, folds up for easy transportation in just a few seconds, has a unique brake-steer system, an automatic inbuilt umbrella and although it’s not cheap at UKP1800, it has no equal in the world of wheelchairs.  Read More

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