Posts Tagged ‘accessibility’

A Look at the Advantages of the Mobility Scooter

Elderly people who have difficulty getting around often find that using a wheelchair is not the optimal solution, especially since manual wheelchairs can require a lot of physical strength to use. Instead, a mobility scooter is often a better choice and is usually considerably less than an electric wheelchair.

Mobility scooters, like wheelchairs, have been around for some time, but the first electric mobility scooter can be traced back to the 1960′s. Since then, there have been a number of improvements in their design and dependability.

An Electric Mobility Scooter, or adult scooter, is a motorized device used to help make it easier for someone to get around. The base of the device is elongated and has a chair positioned towards the rear and handlebars on the front. The handlebars, which are referred to as the tiller, extend from the front of the electric scooters base and can be adjusted to bring them closer or farther from the user. In addition to controlling the direction of the scooter, the tiller can also control acceleration and braking, as well as controlling any other extras, such as running lights.

One of the big differences between mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs is the tiller. On an electric wheelchair, an armrest control is usually used to move the device and there is nothing in front of the users legs. However, on a mobility scooter, the tiller is located on the front of the users legs, which makes it impossible to drive the mobility scooter directly up to a table or desk. As a result, the target market for a wheelchair and scooter differs in that mobility scooters are primarily intended for people who can walk for short distances, but have trouble doing so.

While there are many types of mobility scooters, many much less expensive than others, most are designed to work well both indoors and outdoors. There are several considerations though, such as tire size, ground clearance, and speed, which help determine if the scooter will work well outdoors. The number of tires can also have an effect, with 4-wheel mobility scooters offering more stability when used outdoors.

3-Wheel Mobility Scooters, on the other hand, offer the advantage of being more maneuverable, as they have a smaller turning radius. So, for indoor use, a 3-wheel scooter may be preferable. Of course, this extra maneuverability comes at the cost of stability and weight support, so it is important to determine what type of scooter will work best for your individual needs.

There are also several types of scooters that are designed to fit special needs. For example, heavy duty scooters are designed to support more weight and preform better outdoors. Travel scooters, on the other hand, are essentially on the opposite side of the spectrum. Travel scooters are designed to be as lightweight as possible, so they can be transported easily without a scooter lift. They have fewer features and extras to help reduce weight, typically being designed to be broken down into several easy to manage pieces.

A Look at Wheelchair Development

Mobility vehicles of some shape or form have been around for hundreds and thousands of years. These devices are important tools for increasing accessibility and allowing those who have difficulty walking to get around.

Early Wheelchair Design

wicker wheelchairIn the early days, there was no standard to these devices and often they were only affordable by nobility. It was also not uncommon for the kings and other royalty who used these early wheelchairs to need them more as a result of their lavish lifestyle, rather than out of a practical need.

This began to change towards the end of the nineteenth century, when a wicker wheelchair was designed. The wicker wheelchair had a very high back and sides, with two wheels on the side and one in the back. Due to its large size and the design of its wheels, it was very hard for a wheelchair user to self propel this type of wheelchair or even to transport it away from the hospital. Still, it was much more effective than previous designs and was adopted across the United States by most hospitals.

The Development of the Folding Self-Propelled Wheelchair

wheelchairThe wicker wheelchair had a number of design problems that made it very difficult for the average wheelchair user to use. As a result, two inventors, one of whom was in a wheelchair, worked together to develop a lightweight foldable wheelchair. Their design, which is known as the E & J wheelchair, made use of a frame made out of hollow steel tubes, which provided a great deal of support and strength, but without the same weight as that of a wicker wheelchair. The steel tube frame could also be folded up, making the wheelchair much easier to transport.

At the time the E & J wheelchair was invented, America was on the precipice of the Second World War and so the wheelchair was put to great use. The development of antibiotics meant that soldiers were able to recover from wounds that even only a few short years ago would have been fatal, with many soldiers returning from the war without full use of their legs.

The E & J wheelchair would remain the standard for some time and the first electric wheelchairs were built around its frame. A number of companies began to sell converter kits that allowed the E & J wheelchair to be inexpensively converted to an Electric Wheelchair. These made use of a simple electric motor that could be attached to the axle of the wheelchair and controlled by a simple joystick placed on the wheelchair’s arm. While the design of a modern electric wheelchair is much different, the joystick control scheme is the standard for most electric wheelchairs. However, there are also a number of other control systems available for those who can not use a joystick.

Today, the basic design of the E & J wheelchair has remained the same and can be seen in most modern manual wheelchairs, although there are many other popular wheelchair manufacturers.

A Quick Look at the Power Chair

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.