Best wheelchair innovations that bring freedom to paraplegics
Wheelchairs have been around for such a long time but it only in the last decade that they have technology assisting them in evolving from just being wheelchairs with wheels and a seat. In fact they have morphed into personal mobility vehicles for the disabled who always want to do more in their life and enjoy it to the fullest. And being a disabled person means that you have to be restricted to certain limitations, be it in mobility or ease of usage of the wheelchair itself. So here we have some of the most innovative wheelchairs that will take personal mobility for the disabled to the next level.
Ziesel tank wheelchair
Ziesel tank wheelchair by Mattro is a full-blown sports vehicle that runs on electric power of lithium-ion batteries and conquer any type of terrain. The 4-season rubber tracks of this wheelchair provide it a low ground pressure for maximum stability and high traction on sharp turns.
A bunch of innovative students from University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have made a solar-powered wheelchair that has a retractable roof that has solar panels embedded on top of it. This wheelchair can reach speeds of 5mph and runs around 4.5 hours in one charge.
Carbon Black wheelchair
Andrew Slorance paralyzed from the age of 14 has made the Carbon Black wheelchair made from carbon fiber monocoque material which is very light-weight. Not only does the wheelchair ensure easy transportation but also makes sure that the rider has no hesitation driving it on steep slopes.
Team led by Shuro Nakajima at Chiba Institute of Technology have created a wheelchair that can climb up or descend down the stairs without any hassle. The various sensors in this wheelchair assess the terrain around and initiate the movement required to overcome the obstacle. Apart from all that, the robotic wheelchair can make 360 degree turns for ultra-mobility in tight spaces.
Japanese firm Nano-Optonics Energy have developed a one-seater wheelchair dubbed Unimo that is one of the most comfortable wheelchairs to sit in. The rubber crawler in the wheelchair enables it to turn a full 360 degree and climb steep steps too. Unimo has a top speed of 6km/h and is perfect for outdoors.
Making to the list of our top innovative wheelchairs is the Action trackchair powered by a 12-volt battery that gives it an average speed of 8 mph on a wide variety of terrains. The tracked wheelbase makes it stable enough to do any kind of outdoor activities and interestingly it can be loaded with toolboxes, gun racks, gun scabbards or fishing rod holders. Action Trackchair can be yours for $8,800 and give you unlimited adventurous opportunities.
WHILL wheelchair attachment
WHILL attachment for any wheelchair can turn it into electric commuter as it overrides the wheel of manual wheelchair giving it electric power assistance. The attachment has two circular hubs that attact to the wheel rims and the control section in the middle functions as control center. The WHILL attachment gives your wheelchair a boost of 20 km/h speed and the battery takes two hours to charge which allows the rider to traverse 30 kilometers.
Brain Controlled Wheelchair
Researchers at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have developed a brain controlled robotic wheelchair that uses shared control to navigate. The rider’s brain signals are translated into commands and this moves the wheelchair in the desired direction without even moving the hands.
Researchers at Kyoto University have designed an omni-directional wheelchair called Permoveh (short from of Personal Mobility Vehicle) that has diagonal or sideways freedom of movement. This all-four drive wheelchair provides the rider ultra-comfort and enhanced mobility than the traditional wheelchairs. It cost around $36,300 to make but the researchers are pushing hard to make a commercial version of Permoveh that costs around $12,000.
For paralyzed golfers who want to show off their skills on the green, this singular all-terrain mobility vehicle wheelchair is just perfect. Paragolfer can traverse the rider from a sitting position to a standing position for an upright posture, making it is high tech wheelchair. With 12 years of development time, Otto Bock opens up great avenues for paraplegic golfers.
Tongue guided wheelchair
Now it’s time to drive your wheelchair with the tongue alone as engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed an assistive technology called Tongue Drive system, to help individuals with disability to drive wheelchair. By simply moving the tongue around it is possible to drive this computer controlled wheelchair anywhere you want. The system requires to implant small magnets, the size of rice grain, into the riders tongue for achieving this unique mobility. The movement of tongue is detected by an array of magnetic field sensors mounted on a headset outside the mouth or on an orthodontic brace inside the mouth.
Charles Xavier, the brain behind X-Men comic book has made a steampunk wheelchair that is improved by Daniel Valdez, making it look like a wheelchair from another era. The wheelchair has a custom audio system, motorized wheel drive and a look that will make other wheelchairs look ordinary.