Your Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter Resource
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
A wheelchair might seem like a rather straightforward device, but there are many parts that go into a modern wheelchair, with some helping to improve the wheelchairs performance, as well as making it easier to use.
Today, most manual wheelchairs use a design that is based, at least in part, on the E&J wheelchair, which was developed right before WWII. Not everyone is familiar with the E&J Wheelchair, which is the name of its inventors, Everest and Jennings, but most people have seen them. This is the design that uses hollow metal tubes in the frame and a vinyl seat, which allows the wheelchair to be folded when not in use.
The innovation of this lightweight folding wheelchair made it much easier for those who used wheelchair to be get around when it was first developed, as most other wheelchairs were made of heavy wood and other bulky materials. This not only made it difficult to transport early wheelchairs, but it also made it hard for users to self-propel their wheelchair. The E&J Wheelchair solved these problems and its effect on the modern manual wheelchair can still be seen today.
Of course, the sports wheelchair is becoming much more popular, which is a lightweight wheelchair, with performance in mind. There are many different types of wheelchair sports, with many sports having a special wheelchair design. For instance, the wheelchairs used in wheelchair basketball are surrounded by a protective cage and metal bumpers to prevent injuries.
However, there are many much more generic sports wheelchairs around, which are not necessarily designed for a specific sport, but instead include a number of performance features. This includes things like adjustable axles, smaller seats, low profile foot rigging, and many other performance tweaks that make it very maneuverable and fast. Many wheelchair users prefer the sports wheelchair design to that of a traditional folding wheelchair. As an example, most sports wheelchairs have a much lower back, which can make it much easier to turn and reach things behind you.
While manual wheelchairs remain very popular, they require a good deal of energy to use, requiring that the person is fit and in good shape. This requires a lot of upper body strength and this is a factor that leads some to use Electric Wheelchairs, although a lot of people simply prefer a power chair to a manual wheelchair.
Power chairs utilize an electric motor and rechargeable battery, being very well suited for indoor use. Most preform well on packed ground as well, but some are more suited for outdoor use than others. Electric wheelchairs are more expensive than manual wheelchairs, but most travel over five miles on a single charge, which is no small task in a manual wheelchair.
There are several types of electric wheelchairs, but two of the most common are the rear-wheel drive wheelchair and the mid-wheel drive wheelchair. A rear wheel drive electric wheelchair provides a slightly stabler base and is a little bit better suited for outdoor use than a mid-wheel drive wheelchair. However, because the drive wheel in a mid-wheel drive wheelchair is located at the center of the device, they are often much more maneuverable.
Folding electric wheelchairs, as well as travel wheelchairs that can be taken apart are also available, which are not as high performance as regular power chairs, but are designed to be transported without a wheelchair lift.
For many, the wheelchair remains one of the most well known and common types of mobility vehicles, providing a service that is different from that of something like a mobility scooter. Wheelchairs have a rich history of innovation and are as common today, as they were 100 years ago.
Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
The wheelchair is one of the oldest known mobility aids, greatly improving the lives of those who have difficulty walking. There are many types of wheelchairs available, with sports wheelchairs becoming much more popular over the last ten years. However, for many the choice is whether to buy an electric wheelchair or a manual wheelchair, with both offering their own advantages.
This guide provides the answers to some frequently asked questions about electric wheelchairs, which will help the consumer make an informed purchasing decision.
Electric wheelchairs, which are often called power chairs, are quite popular, but with so many choices and models available, it is important to understand how electric wheelchairs work and what their features are, before submitting to a high pressure sales pitch from your local medical supply store or online dealer.
An electric wheelchair is a motorized wheelchair that is powered using one or more rechargeable batteries. This allows the electric wheelchair, which is often referred to as a power chair, to be used easily away from the home, over both indoor and outdoor terrain.
The first electric wheelchairs, which were developed during the 1950′s, were simply manual wheelchairs that were outfitted with an electric motor, but today, they are custom made.
Choosing between a manual wheelchair or an electric wheelchair is often a very personal decision, as they both offer advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, this comes down to personal preference, but there are several important things that should be considered when deciding whether to buy a power chair or a manual wheelchair.
The main advantage of an electric wheelchair is that it requires very little effort to use, while using a manual wheelchair is very strenuous. Where manual wheelchairs require that the user be pushed or self propel, with the latter requiring a great deal of upper-body strength, an electric wheelchair can be controlled with very little effort on the part of the user.
However, one disadvantage of electric wheelchairs is that they are much heavier and more difficult to transport than manual wheelchairs, which will be discussed later in the how do I transport an electric wheelchair section. Another consideration is that manual wheelchairs usually cost significantly less than power chairs.
Like Mobility Scooters, electric wheelchairs are designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. However, they preform best over tightly packed surfaces. Due to their design, they are also not as well suited for outdoor travel as a mobility scooter is though, usually with a much shorter wheelbase and sometimes smaller wheels, making them work best over concrete or other hard surfaces.
However, unlike mobility scooters, an electric wheelchair can be driven directly up to a table or desk, in the same way that a manual wheelchair can.
Rear-Wheel Drive Power Chairs typically have four wheels, which are spaced evenly apart from one another. The set of wheels in the back, the rear wheels, are what actually moves the power chair.
Mid-Wheel Drive Power Chairs, on the other hand, usually have three sets of wheels. The set of wheels in the middle is positioned directly under the seat and the front and back set of wheels are positioned about the same as those on a Rear-Wheel Drive chair. However, it is the middle set of wheels that moves the wheelchair, with the front and back set of wheels providing support and stability.
The main advantage of a mid-wheel drive wheelchair is that it is more maneuverable than a rear wheel drive wheelchair. Like manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs are steered by moving one wheel, while holding the other still. A Mid-Wheel Power Chair allows for a much smaller turning radius, as the turning axis is directly below the wheelchairs seat.
In contrast, a rear-wheel drive wheelchair turns from the back, as this is where the drive wheels are, which means it will have a higher turning radius. However, because the weight of the rider is more evenly distributed between the front and back of the wheelchair, a rear wheel drive wheelchair is typically more stable and better able to support larger weights. To counteract this, some mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are considerably larger and include support wheels that are positioned further from the frame than normal.
The basic control system that was first developed during the nineteen-fifties is still used today, with a joystick control being the standard control system for most electric wheelchairs. Of course, it is electronically based and made using much better technology, but the concept remains the same.
Typically, the joystick is mounted to the armrest on either side of the wheelchair, with most models also including simple throttle and horn controls as well.
For those who are unable to use the traditional joystick control, a number of alternate wheelchair controls have been developed, with many of these having roots in the first wheelchair systems. Power chair control systems that allow the head to control the wheelchair are one of the more common, with several available that allow the wheelchair to be controlled by head movements.
Another popular option allows the users breath to control the movements of the wheelchair, with the user blowing through a small tube, similar to a straw, to move the wheelchair. There are also a number of experimental controls being developed, with one of the most promising allowing the user to control the wheelchair with their tongue, as it is common for movement of the tongue to remain, even in those who are otherwise paralyzed.
There are also a number of control systems developed with the caretaker in mind, which include remote control systems that allow the wheelchair to be controlled by someone walking behind it.
Also in development, there are several systems that allow the wheelchair to learn an environment, either by using GPS to map the environment or by manually adding map. This allows the wheelchair to navigate a room, building, or even campus, using proximity sensors to detect objects in the way. While still currently being developed, there are several live studies of these types of chairs, including one at a nursing home. Other potential controls, which could revolutionize wheelchair movements, include eye tracking software, which is able to detect where a user is looking.
The seat on most manual wheelchairs is made of vinyl, which is sewn around the frame of the wheelchair, although more breathable materials are also popular, especially on sports wheelchairs. However, the seat of an electric wheelchair more closely resembles a office chair. Some include a high back, with neck rest, while others have a much lower back, but they are typically made in a similar process, with a cushion built atop a hard flat board.
Depending on the model, some power chairs even have a reclining backrest and most allow the seat to be pivoted in both directions, making it easier to transport into and out of the chair.
If you buy a standard power chair, such as those made by Pride Mobility or Golden Technologies, there aren’t really too many options when it comes to the seat. However, special rehab seats are available, which include more supportive headrests, improved cushioning, and fully reclining seats. These power chairs also include individual leg rests that more closely resemble the leg rests used on a manual wheelchair, instead of the single platform that is usually provided for standard power chairs.
Pride Mobility’s Quantum Rehab division is one of the more well known offers of specialized power chairs, with bariatric and pediatric seats available that are mounted to one of their standard power chair bases. These seats also used a much more ergonomic cushioning that provides improved back support, as well as power tilt, which allows the seat to be reclined electronically.
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This varies depending on the model of scooter, as well as how it is used. However, most travel at speeds of between 3 and 4mph, with a range of around 15 miles.
One thing to keep in mind is that the range and speed is affected by the weight of the rider, as well as the terrain being traveled over. For example, if traveling uphill, the wheelchair’s battery will wear out faster and the chair itself will move slower than when traveling across flat ground.
Also, the battery will need to be replaced periodically, with the wheelchair loosing performance and range as the battery wears down.
Electric wheelchairs are much heavier than manual wheelchairs and can not be folded up and placed in the trunk the same way you would with a self-propelled wheelchair. While most electric wheelchairs are designed to be taken apart, the individual pieces can be rather heavy and bulky. As a result, those who intend to use the wheelchair away from home, usually need to buy a wheelchair lift or a wheelchair ramp for their vehicle.
The least expensive option is the wheelchair ramp, with several foldable metal ramps available. These allow the wheelchair to be driven directly into a van, but do not work as well with other vehicles. Often, these ramps are not actually secured to the van itself, but there are also some van ramps available that are bolted to the floor of the van and can be folded down into place, making it much easier to use independently.
Wheelchair lifts are another option and offer much more flexibility, as they can be used on cars, trucks, SUVs, and Vans. Wheelchair lifts either act as a lifting platform, sort of like an elevator, or as a crane. They are also classified as either internal wheelchair lifts or external wheelchair lifts.
External Wheelchair Lifts are mounted to the hitch of a vehicle and typically store the wheelchair outside on the back end of the vehicle. However, there are several hitch mounted crane lifts that are used to move the wheelchair into inside of the vehicle.
Internal Wheelchair Lifts, on the other hand, store the wheelchair on the inside of the vehicle. These work by either extending a platform from the vehicle onto the ground or by using the crane method. In vans, the platform lift works well when it is installed behind the drivers seat, with the mid row seating of the van removed. However, they can also be used on TRUCKS and SUVS. For passenger cars, a crane lift is usually the only option.
Wheelchair lifts are either powered by a rechargeable battery pack or by directly connecting to the vehicles battery. While wheelchair lifts that are connected to the vehicles battery are sometimes a little more complicated to set up, they end up being much lower maintenance, as you do not need to remember to charge the battery pack. Some wheelchair lifts also allow the wheelchairs charger to be plugged into it, so the wheelchair can be charged while on the road.
Travel Power Chairs are electric wheelchairs that are designed to be as lightweight as possible, which can make it easier to travel with them. They are usually designed to be taken apart easily, with the individual pieces being lighter and easier to manage. Also sometimes called portable power chairs, these wheelchairs can sometimes be transported without having to use a wheelchair lift.
However, this comes at the expense of features and range, as the wheelchair is stripped of as much weight as possible. This means a much smaller seat, with less padding, as well as a shorter range and weight capacity.
Folding Power Chairs are also available, which look similar to a manual wheelchair and can be folded in the same way. While these do take up less space than a standard power chair, they are still quite heavy, so are not often the best choice.
Probably the most well known power chair manufactures are Pride Mobility and Golden Technologies, with both companies offering a number of popular and reliable electric wheelchairs. Pride’s Quantum Rehab line is also very popular, as they offer a number of wheelchairs with improved seating and controls, designed with rehab in mind.
While Pride Power Chairs and Golden Power Chairs are the most well known, there are many other manufacturers, with ShopRider Wheelchairs gaining popularity in the past few years by offering a lower price alternative.
When shopping for an electric wheelchair, however, it is important to not only focus on the price of the wheelchair and instead read reviews and consumer reports for each brand, while avoiding the many cheap no-name wheelchairs available. It is also important to make sure the company offers a comprehensive warranty.
Monday, October 5th, 2009
Wheelchairs are very powerful tools that have a history dating back thousands of years. However, most of the technology behind the modern wheelchair, with of course the exception of the wheel itself, is much newer. Instead, the modern manual wheelchair based off of the E&J design, which is characterized by a lightweight hollow tubed frame, which can be folded when not in use.
Today, manual wheelchairs remain incredibly popular, but the electric wheelchair is also a very common choice for the wheelchair user. Not too surprisingly, the modern electric wheelchair also has its roots in the E&J Wheelchair design. This is because the first electric wheelchairs were simply E&J wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor. Early manufacturer would sell electric conversion kits designed for use with the E&J design, but today the electric wheelchair has a significantly different design that to that of a manual wheelchair.
Most modern electric wheelchairs, which are often called power chairs, feature a relatively small base, which is covered in molded plastic. The base contains the electric motor, wiring, wheel base, and rechargeable batteries of the wheelchair. Some are quite small, while others have a much large wheel base, resulting in a much larger wheelchair. Attached to the top of the wheelchair base is a chair, which can usually be swiveled to make entering or exiting the wheelchair much easier.
The reason the base of an electric wheelchair is so small, especially when compared to that of a mobility scooter, is that by design a wheelchair must be able to be driven directly up to a table or desk, without requiring its user to transfer to another chair or a bench. For heavy duty electric wheelchairs, the base is usually larger, but it is still designed so that the power chair can be driven directly up to a desk.
The number of wheels on a power chair is one way that they are classified. Rear wheel drive wheelchairs usually have a set of wheels in the front and a set of wheels in the back. The rear wheels are responsible for moving the wheelchair and are slightly larger than the front wheels, which are typically there for support only.
One of the advantages of a rear-wheel drive power chair is that they are very stable. The weight of the user is spread out more evenly around the base of the chair, resulting in a very stable wheelchair.
The Mid-Wheel Drive Wheelchair actually has three sets of wheels. The front set and rear set are much smaller and are designed to provide stability and support. It is the mid wheels that are responsible for moving and turning the wheelchair, which offers the advantage of greatly improved maneuverability. This is an important feature, as many wheelchair users rely on their power chair for indoor use.
However, it is at the expense of the extra stability offered by a rear-wheel drive power chair. This is because most of the weight is placed on the mid-wheel, which significantly changes the wheelchairs center of balance. This is not to say that mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are unstable, simply that they are less stable than rear-wheel drive wheelchairs. As a result, for outdoor use or high weight capacity, a rear-wheel drive power chair will usually provide better service.
Monday, August 24th, 2009
Electric wheelchairs, which are often called power chairs, have been around for over fifty years and are very important, because many people are not able to use a manual wheelchair, which requires a great deal of upper body strength. However, power chairs have changed a great deal since when they were first invented.
The power chairs of fifty years ago were simply manual wheelchairs that had been fitted with an electrical motor. The E & J manual wheelchair was very popular at the time and consisted of a foldable frame made up of hollow steel tubes. A number of companies began to develop power chair converter kits, which could be easily added to the E & J frame, turning it into an electric wheelchair. Today, while the influence of the E & J design can still be seen in most manual wheelchairs, power chairs are actually much different.
Modern power chairs consist of a molded plastic base, which consists of the wheels, electric motor, rechargeable battery, and other electrical components. A chair is attached to the base, which in someways looks similar to a high-end office chair, except many also include an adjustable headrest.
The chair, which is referred to as the Captain’s Chair, usually has an adjustable height and armrests that can be raised or lowered to make it easier to transfer into and out of the electric wheelchair. Typically, the chair can be quickly removed from the base of the power chair, to make it easier to transport.
While there have been many changes to the power chair over the years, one thing that has remained the same is the way the wheelchair is controlled. Of course there have been many technological advances, but the joystick has been the traditional wheelchair control since they were first developed. The joystick of the wheelchair allows the wheelchair to be moved in any direction by simply pushing the joystick in the desired direction. An electric throttle, which controls the speed of the power chair, is also usually attached to the captain chair’s armrest.
The joystick control usually only requires a single finger to operate, but for some using the standard control is not possible, so a number of alternate controls exist. Alternate controls can be as simple as a allowing for head movements to move the electric wheelchair, but there are many much more advanced control systems available.
Today, portable power chairs are becoming more popular and manufacturers have begun to manufacture travel power chairs, which are designed to be quickly and easily disassembled into several easy to manage pieces. Individually the pieces are typically rather light, which means the wheelchair can be transported without requiring a wheelchair lift or other type of wheelchair carrier. Of course, to help reduce weight, they usually lack features and do not have as comfortable of a chair. However, portable power chairs can be very useful for those who will be traveling on a plane or other form of public transportation.
Power chairs are today very common, but the manual wheelchair is still the most used type of wheelchair.
Friday, August 14th, 2009
For wheelchair users, the choice between an electric wheelchair and a manual wheelchair often revolves around the physical abilities of the wheelchair user. However, there are a number of other considerations, including personal preference, budget, and the place the wheelchair will be used.
For those that have decided to invest in an electric wheelchair, selecting the right power chair is very important, so it is important to understand some of their features and some of the different types of electric wheelchairs.
There are several ways to categorize electric wheelchairs, but the drive system is one of the most important considerations. Power chairs are either driven by a mid-wheel drive system or a rear-wheel drive system. Understanding the difference between the two is important, because they both offer advantages and disadvantages.
A rear-wheel drive power chair, as the name implies is driven by the rear wheels. Rear-wheel drive power chairs typically have only two sets of wheels, one in the front and one in the back, with the back wheels being responsible for moving the wheelchair. They may also have anti-tip casters, but as far as actual weight bearing wheels, there are usually only four. Since the weight of the wheelchair user is spread out evenly amongst the four wheels, the rear wheel drive system provides a very stable platform. This makes it a better choice for outdoor use or higher weight capacities.
A mid-wheel drive power chair, on the other hand, has three sets of wheels and is driven by the middle set of wheels. This main advantage of a mid-wheel drive power chair is that it is very maneuverable, which results in a smaller turning radius than rear wheel drive system. However, the weight distribution is not as even on a mid wheel drive system, as the middle set of wheels supports the most weight. This makes them not quite as stable as a rear wheel drive system, but an excellent choice for indoor use, because mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are so very maneuverable.
Deciding whether to go with a portable power chair or a standard power chair is also an important consideration and depends a great deal on the needs of the user and where the electric wheelchair will be used.
Portable power chairs, which are also sometimes called travel power chairs, are designed so that they can be taken apart into several easy to manage pieces. These individual pieces are light enough that they can usually be lifted by most people, so that the wheelchair can be transported without using a vehicle wheelchair lift. However, it is important to note that even though portable power chairs are designed to be as light as possible, the heaviest piece is usually around fifty pounds, so some might still find this too heavy to lift.
In order to reduce weight, portable power chairs have reduced features, such as smaller seats, and also typically have a slightly lower top speed, range, and weight capacity.
Standard Power Chairs, on the other hand, weigh a great deal more than portable power chairs and typically require a vehicle wheelchair lift to transport. Standard power chairs can typically still be easily disassembled, but the individual pieces are typically heavier than those of a portable power chair, with the heaviest piece usually weighing around ninety pounds.
While standard power chairs are not as easily transported without a vehicle wheelchair lift, they are typically more comfortable and include more features. Standard power chairs usually have a more comfortable chair, a higher per-charge range, higher top speed, and a greater weight capacity than travel power chairs.
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
Today, many of those who use wheelchairs, opt to go with a electric wheelchair. Electric wheelchairs, which are also called power chairs, are popular for a number of reasons, including the fact that they can be operated with very little physical effort on the part of the wheelchair user.
Power chairs are not exactly a new invention and have been used for over fifty years. Back then, however, power chairs were simply manual wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor. The E & J Manual Wheelchair, which was incredibly popular at the time, actually had several do-it-yourself converter kits, which were sold to consumers, so they could transform their manual wheelchair into an electric wheelchair.
Today, power chairs remain to be very popular, but most do not share the same design as that of a manual wheelchair. Instead, most modern power chairs have a small plastic molded base, which contains the electric motor, axles, batteries, and other electrical components. A chair, often referred to as the captain’s chair, is attached to the base and often looks more like an office chair, complete with armrests, extra padding, headrest, and in some cases a reclining backrest.
While the overall design of the power chair has greatly changed since it was first invented over fifty years ago, one thing that is still very similar is the default control system. The standard control system on electric wheelchairs is a joystick control that is attached to one of the chair’s armrest. This allows the power chair to be moved in any direction by the push of a button. However, unlike the original electric wheelchairs, modern wheelchairs also have a throttle setting to control the speed of the wheelchair. They are also much more sensitive than the first wheelchair controls, deftly turning and controlling the wheelchair in a very fluid motion.
While the joystick control system is the default control for most electric wheelchairs, there are many people who are unable to use it. For these people, a number of alternate controls are available, which can allow the power chair to be easily controlled even by people who are unable to move their hands.
Many of the popular alternate wheelchair controls are based around using the head. There are systems that allow the wheelchair to be controlled by head movements and also some that use the individuals breath to move the wheelchair. There are also a great number of experimental wheelchair controls in the works. This includes using magnets on the persons tongue and even several that rely on a brain computer interface, which uses signals from the users brain to control the electric wheelchair.
In addition to alternate control systems that make it easier for the wheelchair user to control their wheelchair, there are also a number of control schemes intended to make it easier for caretakers to move the wheelchair. The most basic is a simple remote control, either wireless or directly attached to the wheelchair, which can be used by someone walking next to the power chair. There are also much more advanced systems, which can learn the floor plans of a home or other area and then be programmed to move the wheelchair to any area in the home.
Electric wheelchairs are very powerful tools and remain to be one of the most popular accessibility tools. While these devices have been around for over fifty years, modern power chairs are much more reliable, durable, and powerful than their predecessors.
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
Electric wheelchairs, or power chairs, are today a very important accessibility aid that greatly improves the lives of millions of people every year. While modern power chairs offer similar functionality to the first electric wheelchairs developed almost 60 years ago, their design and reliability has changed a great deal.
One of the biggest changes to the modern power chair is that it now uses a much stronger and more reliable electric motor. The batteries are also much improved, offering a much greater per charge distance. This not only means the wheelchair can be driven further faster, but also that it can support more weight and preform better over uneven terrain. It is not uncommon for an electric wheelchair to be able to travel more than 10 miles on a single charge, with a number of power chairs having a range between 15 and 20 miles. The top speed is also significantly higher, with most power chairs traveling at speeds at or above 5 miles per hour.
While from a functionality and reliability standpoint, having an improved electrical system is one of the biggest differences between modern electric wheelchairs and their predecessors, there are also a significant number of changes involving the design of the device. The original electric wheelchairs were simply manual wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor and battery. However, today, most electric wheelchairs share a much different design.
This includes a much smaller molded plastic base, which contains the electrical components of the wheelchair. A seat is installed upon this plastic base and is usually referred to as the captain’s chair. Depending on the type of wheelchair, the captain’s chair could be relatively small, or it could resemble a high end office chair, with a high back and extended armrests. In either case, it is much different than the chair used on most manual wheelchairs, which is made out of slats of vinyl.
There are in fact a great number of improvements and changes that have been made to the power chair over the years, many of these mechanical, but the standard electric wheelchair control scheme is the same. This is of course the joystick control system, which is found on most electric wheelchairs. The joystick is attached to the armrest of the wheelchairs chair and allows the power chair to be controlled by only the push of a finger.
There are also a number of alternate wheelchair controls that are commonly used, made available for people who are not able to physically able to use a standard joystick control scheme. There are many different types of controls, often aided by computers, allowing power chairs to be controlled by the angle of ones head, an individuals breath, or other parts of their body’s. For caretakers, there are also several popular remote control systems that can be attached to a standard power chair, allowing the unit to be controlled by someone walking behind it.
Even though the modern power chair shares a number of similarities with the first electric wheelchairs in regards to the functionality, they are actually quite different. Not only do they have a completely different design, but the modern power chair is much more reliable and durable.
Sunday, July 19th, 2009
Today, electric wheelchairs are essential mobility vehicles, used by millions of people all over the world. Electric wheelchairs have changed a great deal over the last fifty years and remain incredibly popular, especially among those who are unable to use a manual wheelchair.
When electric wheelchairs, or power chairs, were first invented, an electric motor was placed onto a manual wheelchair, allowing it to be controlled electronically. This was a major improvement, which greatly increased the accessibility of those who were otherwise unable to get around by themselves. A number of companies quickly formed to sell these manual wheelchair converter kits, which were usually based off of the E & J Wheelchair.
While it is still possible to buy manual wheelchair converter kits, most electric wheelchairs today consist of a molded plastic base, which contains the electronic components of the wheelchair, with a large comfortable chair fitted onto the base. As a result, most modern electric wheelchairs can not be reverted into a manual wheelchair should the battery die, but they are much more powerful and often include a lot of neat features.
Most electric wheelchairs are controlled by using a simple joystick, which is secured to the arm of the chair. The joystick can be configured for left hand or right hand use, which is typically done by the manufacturer, although it is typically possible for the user to change this as well. In addition to the joystick, a simple throttle, which controls the speed of the wheelchair, is also usually on the arm of the chair. For those who are not able to use the standard wheelchair control, alternative controls are also available.
Many of todays electric wheelchairs share a number of similarities, both in the way they are designed, as well as the way they look. Typically, electric wheelchairs are classified by the type of drive system, either mid-wheel drive or rear wheel drive, as well as by how easy it is to transport the wheelchair.
In a mid-wheel drive electric wheelchair, the base of the wheelchair will typically have three rows of wheels. The middle row is the row that is responsible for moving and turning the wheelchair, while the other two rows help provide support. A mid-wheel drive system is extremely maneuverable, which makes it great for indoor use. In a rear wheel drive wheelchair, there will usually only be two rows of wheels, with the rear wheels being responsible for moving and turning. While not quite as maneuverable as a mid-wheel drive wheelchair, a rear wheel drive wheelchair does provide a little bit more stability because the weight is more evenly distributed between the base of the chair.
The other way that power chairs are classified is by how easy it is to transport them. Travel wheelchairs are available, which are designed to be taken apart to make it easier for them to be transported in a vehicle. There are even some folding electric wheelchairs, which closely resemble the design of a manual wheelchair. If you do not have a travel wheelchair, you will likely need a wheelchair lift to transport the device in a vehicle. This is because even though most electric wheelchairs can be disassembled, the individual pieces of a non-travel wheelchair can be very heavy.
The electric wheelchair has come a long way over the last fifty years and is today a very important tool for millions of people all across the World.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
The wheelchair is one of the oldest types of medical equipment known to man. Its uses can be traced back thousands of years and every year, the wheelchair greatly improves the lives of the mobility challenged. The electric wheelchair, on the other hand, is a much newer device and has only been available for about sixty years.
The first electric wheelchairs, which were developed during the nineteen-fifties, were simply manual wheelchairs that had been outfitted with an electric motor. They have changed a great deal since then, although there are a few that still share a similar design to these early electric wheelchairs. Most however, have a power base, which contains the electric motor, wheels, and batteries, with a chair mounted to the top of the base.
To control the wheelchair, a simple joystick is attached to the arm of the chair and the wheelchair user can simply push the joystick in the direction they wish to go. Most will also have a button for a horn, a battery meter, and a speed adjustment mounted in the armrest.
While for many people the joystick will provide an adequate control system, there are some who lack the ability to use this type of control and must instead use an alternate wheelchair control system. For instance, it is possible to control the wheelchair with head movements, breath, or even with a remote control. Currently, there are several companies working on a brain controlled wheelchair as well, which will eventually allow the wheelchair user to control their wheelchair with thoughts.
There are many different models of electric wheelchair available and a number of different manufacturers as well, but most electric wheelchairs can usually be classified as either rear wheel drive wheelchairs or mid-wheel drive wheelchairs.
A rear wheel drive wheelchair usually has 4 wheels and the two rear wheels are responsible for moving the wheelchair. They provide a very sturdy and stable base, because the weight is evenly distributed across the four wheels.
A mid-wheel drive wheelchair usually has 6 wheels. The set of wheels in the middle is used to move the wheelchair and the other wheels, which are located on the front and back of the base, are used to provide stability. A mid-wheel drive wheelchair is incredibly maneuverable, however the weight is not as evenly distributed, so it will not be as stable as a rear wheel drive wheelchair.
While the rear wheel and mid-wheel drive wheelchairs are the most common, there are also foldable electric wheelchairs, which use a frame that is similar to that of a manual wheelchair. These are popular for traveling, but lack many of the features of the other types of electric wheelchairs.
The electric wheelchair has greatly evolved over the last fifty years and today provides a very reliable and dependable way to allow a mobility challenged individual to get around.
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
The wheelchair is easily one of the most important medical devices of all time and its roots can be traced back thousands of years. Today, more and more people are using electric wheelchairs.
Electric wheelchairs were first developed in the nineteen-fifties when an electric motor was added to a manual wheelchair. They quickly became popular because a manual wheelchair requires a great deal of physical effort to use and a lot of upper body strength, making them impossible to use for many who are mobility challenged. An electric wheelchair, on the other hand, can be moved by only lifting a finger and there are a number of alternate wheelchair control systems available as well, such as a system that allows the wheelchair to be controlled by the breath of the user.
There are many manufacturers of electric wheelchairs, but two of the most well known are Golden Technologies and Pride Mobility. Both of these companies offer a wide assortment of home medical equipment, including a number of different electric wheelchairs. There are of course many other manufacturers, including ShopRider, so it is a good idea to explore all of your options when shopping for an electric wheelchair.
While there are many different models of electric wheelchairs available, they can typically be classified as either rear-wheel drive, mid-wheel drive, or travel wheelchairs.
Rear-wheel drive wheelchairs are propelled by their rear wheel and the weight of the user is evenly distributed across the electric wheelchairs base. Mid-wheel drive wheelchairs feature three rows of wheels, with the row in the middle being responsible for moving the wheelchair. A mid-wheel drive wheelchair is much more maneuverable than a Rear-wheel drive wheelchair, but the weight is not as evenly distributed, so it does not provide as stable of a platform. For most, the difference is negligible, but in some outdoor situations and for those who require a higher weight capacity, the rear-wheel drive wheelchair might be the best choice.
Travel wheelchairs come in several different designs, but are lighter and easier to transport than other electric wheelchairs. Some are designed so that they can be taken apart into easy to manage pieces and others share a design similar to a steel tubed manual wheelchair, allowing them to be folded up when not in use. They typically have a shorter range and fewer features, but can usually be transported without requiring a vehicle wheelchair lift, which would typically be required to transport non-travel wheelchairs.
For millions of people across the globe, the electric wheelchair allows for increased mobility and accessibility, allowing them to effortlessly move around.