Wild Wheelchair DesignsBy Rouba, Kelly; Action Magazine,
Publication Date: January 25, 2010
Article features new and improved wheelchair models. (1) Off Road Otto Bock 2000, a power wheelchair which can travel up to 60 kilometers at speeds of up to 15 kilometers per hour, has rear wheel chain steering and the option of front or rear drive. It can transverse small curbs and has an integrated lighting system. (2) The MIO, a wheelchair prototype designed by Suzuki, relies on fuel cell technology which derives its power from methanol. It has a travel range of 25 miles and features a backup battery. (3) The foldable all-terrain manual wheelchairs by Trekinetic have shock absorbers, high performance brakes, two thick tires with treads, and a rear trailing castor for added stability. (4) The manual Transformable Wheelchair, made from a strong plastic, is elastic. Its wheels convert to an ellipsoid structure by applying pressure vertically on the handlebar, thereby allowing the user to go up or down stairs. (5) The powered Elevating Wheelchair features a design enabling users to either sit or stand in the chair. (6) The Chariot, a wheelchair in which the user remains standing, is meant for those who have difficulty walking. (7) Lehigh University is designing a robotic wheelchair that can navigate on its own by utilizing a database of maps containing locations or landmarks and sensors that recognize the landmarks. It will also implement a lowcost light detection and ranging laser in the wheelchair to help it avoid hitting objects. (8) The Robotic Bed, a bed and wheelchair combination, is being developed by the Panasonic Corporation. It will reduce a person's risk of injury during transfer and will be able to detect and avoid obstacles. The article points out that most innovative wheelchair designs never make it to the marketing stage as they are not practical for a large enough number of users.
Published by: United Spinal Association (Website:http://www.unitedspinal.org)
Link to text: http://www.unitedspinal.org/publications/action/2010/01/25/wild-wheelchair-designs/