Wheelchairs have aided the disabled for decades. As a result, wheelchairs have evolved over time to become more advanced and sophisticated in the process. Earlier, wheelchairs could be operated only by the care-taker or the person who was aiding the disabled person. With the passing years, wheelchairs could finally be self-propelled by the disabled person. Now you even have electric wheelchairs and robotic wheelchairs. Keep reading to learn more about self propelling wheelchairs.
How Self Propelling Wheelchairs Work
With the growth of artificial intelligence (AI), we can safely state that the time is coming when wheelchairs will be propelled purely by various kinds of sensors, gears, batteries, and of course a central computer that is intelligent enough to make informed decisions according to the surrounding environments. These robotic wheelchairs will revolutionize disabled care, but that’s a discussion for some other day. What does exist in modern society are self propelling wheelchairs, which can be maneuvered by the individual user.
Self propelling wheelchairs are those the user can propel them on their own. The mechanism behind their functioning is quite simple.
1. The Material
The first thing we need to understand is that an average self propelling wheelchair is made from high-grade materials such as aluminum and is hence lightweight, strong, and durable. Others are made from steel or titanium.
The wheels of the chair typically have aluminum rims around them. This enables the user to clutch them properly and push the wheelchair. However, it is always advised that the person should not “wing-out” (or spread his/her elbows outside), which can lead to injury to the shoulder and/or elbow.
2. The Wheels
The second factor that enables the wheelchair to be propelled forward is the front wheels. These front wheels act as an extra muscle to propel the wheels in any direction. These wheels are unidirectional and can turn 360 degrees, thus enabling the wheelchair to move freely.
The third factor is that the leg rest of the wheelchair is placed a significant distance from the main body. This helps to distribute the weight of the wheelchair evenly, which helps self-propelled wheelchairs to move easily.
There are various types of self propelling wheelchair, such as general utility and even those that are used in sports. The sports wheelchairs have peculiarities such as bent wheels. The wheels are bent inwards at the top and hence outward at the bottom. This type of wheel formation helps the person to propel the wheelchair faster. This kind of wheelchair is mostly used in basketball.
In the future, the mannerisms of the self propelling wheelchair will change completely. It may become a robotic wheelchair that is way more efficient than those that we have today. Stay tuned to the news to find out what else is on the horizon when it comes to wheelchair technology.