Up and Coming on the Wheelchair Technology Front

Eve Sherrill York By Eve Sherrill York, 26th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2mk0_a56/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Transport>Other

About the newest types of wheelchair technologies. Several different designs are listed.


Wheelchair design, especially in the electric power and active outdoor types, seems to have gone rather flat over the last few years. There have been some tries to come up with a new generation of technology but all fall back on the existing technology and materials.

To bring a next generation to life there needs to be some break-through technology which just isn't happening. Thermo plastics, light weight alloys, all new and revolutionized manufacture of wood and iron would break away the constraints and design conventions of the current age.

Wheelchair Technology

The new cutting edge wheelchair design that came close was Segway technology. Their wheelchair design revealed the iBot which was capable of raising a person to a standing height even climb stairs. But this was expensive with a price tag of $26,000. There were also doctors who wrote off the iBot as being unnecessary medically and so they quit marketing it.

New on the scene in the last few years is the PUMA(Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility) which may appeal to a broader market. Working cooperatively GM and Segway hope to pick up where others seem to have failed. They hope to develop this further until they have an more effective product.

In developmental stages are cutting edge thought driven electric chairs. The disability assistive devices are mapping the brains neuron electrical activity through complex mathematical algorithms. Also in the futuristic developmental areas is the electro-magnetic hover technology that uses fields of magnetic flux hover technology and is suspending solid object no bigger than a tennis ball. Bringing this up to a application where they can have a wheelchair that will suspend a whole person is something that is not even at a prototype stage yet.

Another influential type of technology in the realm of design concepts of wheelchairs is robotics. Coming from military design robotic exoskeletons increase capabilities of military ground personnel. Enabling soldiers to recharge equipment in transit as well as carry loads of 130 pounds or more is a device called the HULC.

A Japanese company, Cyberdyne, has developed HAL which is a system that records bio-electrical signals that are able to be discerned on the surface of the skin. This even before the muscles even have time to change position. It is able to establish how much power the wearer will generate and it figures how much power needs to be generated by the different power units. They then generate the necessary torgue and the limbs then move. This all takes place in a matter of moments even before the muscle moves. This also has a bearing on which robotic joint then moves in unison with the wearers muscles.

Another wheelchair with the user in mind was the robotic exoskeleton, Rex. It inables the user to get back to their feet and makes it possible for them to go up and down stairs and slopes. This is only suitable for manual wheelchair use and is to complement one not replace it.

Many wheelchairs today don't make it to market even if they have gotten the needed funding. There are many regulations and alot of bureaucratic obstacles that aren't easily overcome. The majority of wheelchair users may not need all the bells and whistles that designers want to put on them and pay the hefty price to enjoy them.

Wheelchairs will advance as technology does. Those with a particular disability will certainly benefit from the new concepts and designs if they can afford the pricing.


Technology, Wheelchair Technology, Wheelchairs

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
I am an award winning author and have enjoyed writing online for about a dozen years now. I like to write about what interests me and that list is long.

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author avatar Carol Roach
27th Feb 2015 (#)

It will certainly help many people

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author avatar Eve Sherrill York
1st Mar 2015 (#)

Yes, these new fangled things are really something.

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