Posts Tagged wheelchair

[WEB SITE] Formula 1 Creates World’s Lightest Wheelchair

When we talk about traveling with a wheelchair, the most important thing that comes to mind is the space and weight of the wheelchair.

Keeping this in mind, a Swiss company has recently partnered with Formula One, a renowned race car organization.

The co-venture will be creating the world’s lightest wheelchair. Küschall, the wheelchair manufacturing company, is focusing on utilizing aerospace materials and redefining the rules of creating a wheelchair, and working with Formula 1 will help them ensure an ultimate driving experience.

The superstar wheelchair, created by the project leader and industrial designer Küschall Andre Fangueiro, is expected to weigh only 1.5 kg. It happens to be 30% lighter and 20% more powerful compared to wheelchairs used normally (classic carbon models). 

Considering graphene is 200 times more powerful and stronger than steel, the chair is built using the same material. The material is also known to be 10 times tougher than a diamond. However, the seat is super flexible and light in weight, which is amazing.

The bound is made up of hexagonal lattice and it is a single layer of carbon atoms.

The company released a press release and noted, “Superb power transfer through the entire frame will mean the Superstar responds rapidly with every movement, combined with impressive road dampening properties, the Superstar will provide an effortless glide anywhere you go,” –

The X shape of the geometry will result in the performance boost. As of now, the details of release date, production, and cost of the product haven’t revealed, but we are excited about this new concept combat design where users can utilize its high performance and comfort.

We will keep you updated for upcoming announcements on the same.

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Formula 1 Creates World’s Lightest Wheelchair – Rolling Without Limits: Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

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[WEB SITE] How to Help Patients in Wheelchairs Express Their Personal Style – Rehab Managment

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By Rae Steinbach

A physical therapist doesn’t merely help someone recover from an injury or accident by improving their mobility. Physical therapists also pay attention to the emotional experiences of those with whom they work.

For instance, people who have recently begun to use wheelchairs often struggle with depression. Their inability to live a fully independent life can result in negative self-talk. Ideally, a physical therapist working with such a patient would notice their mood and identify ways to provide support.

Marla Ranieri of BetterPT further emphasizes this point, sharing that, “Being able to integrate a person back to their community and social activities physically and mentally is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a physical therapist. We provide them the tools they need to enjoy life again.”

Offering fashion tips such as these is one way they can help. Liking what they see in the mirror can help those in wheelchairs start to feel more confident in themselves and their appearance. The problem is, a person who isn’t accustomed to using a wheelchair may struggle to dress well if this experience is new to them.

That doesn’t need to be the case. If you’re a physical therapist working with patients in wheelchairs, help them be more fashionable by offering this key advice:

Wear a Stylish Belt

Long dresses or jackets that look impressive when a person wearing them is standing can get bunched up when a person is sitting down. Luckily, someone in a wheelchair can still enjoy these types of garments. They simply need to add a belt or waistband to the outfit. This smooths out tops and creates a more tailored look.

Choose Form-Fitting Clothing

Again, wheelchair users can wear longer dresses and jackets if they wish. It may even be advisable. Longer tops create the illusion of a longer torso.

That said, wheelchair users need to make sure their tops aren’t too loose. Too much fabric will look boxy when the person wearing such garments is seated. It’s smarter to choose form-fitting clothing. Additionally, excess fabric can get caught in wheelchair components, making it difficult for a person to easily use their wheelchair.

Display Your Shoulders

Dressing to impress is a lot easier for wheelchair users than some may realize. It’s often as simple as wearing a shoulder-baring top. This is a subtle but effective way to make an outfit a bit more daring.

Don’t Overlook Accessories

Learning how to adjust your personal style appropriately if you’ve recently begun using a wheelchair is a process. Although the advice you give patients will help, there are still likely to be instances when they’re not happy with the way a certain outfit looks.

Encourage them to accessorize when this happens. Adding the right accessories can transform a dull outfit into something much more remarkable. Consider recommending a summer subscription box or one that coincides with the approaching season. That way, your patient is sure to have new accessories and styling pieces that excite them throughout the year.

Again, these are important points for physical therapists to keep in mind. You have the chance to help people in wheelchairs feel much more confident. Providing this type of advice will help.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing for Jetty.


via How to Help Patients in Wheelchairs Express Their Personal Style – Rehab Managment

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[BLOG POST] Is Ikea’s New Project That Makes Its Existing Products Accessible

image shows 9 different low tech accessibility products that work with existing ikea products. these are: glass bumper, mega switch, easy handle, insider, pop up handle, couch lift, friendly zipper, curtain zipper, cane by me.

In order to help people with disabilities use its products much more comfortably and independently, and to foray into inclusion, Ikea recently launched the “ThisAbles” project that includes a line of low tech assistive technology devices that bridges gaps between existing Ikea products and the needs of people with disabilities. These products, like the Mega Switch that can be used to turn on and off a lamp without the need for precise use of fingers, can be easily printed by consumers on a 3D printer at their own convenience. There are 13 such products available that cater to people with disabilities related to vision, mobility and hand functions.

Visit for more information and to learn about these new developments as well as existing products suitable for people with disabilities.

Make sure to watch these quick videos to see some of the products in action.

via Is Ikea’s New Project That Makes Its Existing Products Accessible – Assistive Technology Blog

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[BLOG POST] “Can you have sex?” and other common disability and dating questions

We all know that there are a number of preconceptions about disability. One of the biggest is around dating – some people still don’t believe that disabled people date, have relationships and, yes, have sex! For a different perspective on the topic, we’re sharing a blog post from Becky, who isn’t disabled herself but is dating wheelchair-user Dan. Read on to find out how she deals with misconceptions about disability, and her answers to people’s common questions. 

Hi! I’m Becky. I’m a pretty average 23-year-old from the West Midlands. I’ve been a registered veterinary nurse for the last four years and have my own furry clan of horses, a dog and a cat. I’m happiest when I’m outdoors with my animals or exploring with Dan and my friends.

Dan (my better half, significant other, partner in crime….) is 28 and works as a data analyst. He’s a big music fan so loves going to gigs. Like me, he’s always busy and enjoys it being that way.

Dan has Friedreich’s Ataxia, which is a rare genetic, degenerative disease that causes coordination problems, a loss of sensation in the arms and legs, and impaired speech. As a result of this, Dan is a wheelchair user.

From the moment that Dan and I started dating, people have asked me what it’s like to date someone who has a disability. I use my blog, Head over Wheels, to answer their questions, and to share our reviews and stories about places we visit and their accessibility.

Here’s my post on some of the big questions people have…

“What’s it like dating someone in a wheelchair?”

This isn’t hugely different from asking: “What’s it like dating someone called Dan?” The obvious answer is, well, no two men called Dan are the same. Everyone is different.

Ok, so accessibility needs to be considered when dating any wheelchair user. But even that aspect differs from person to person. The rest is just like going out with someone who doesn’t have a disability; first date nerves, worries about awkward silences, excitement if you get on, the fluttery chest if you fancy them.

According to the charity Scope, two-thirds of Brits say they feel awkward around disability, and some people feel so awkward that they avoid disabled people altogether. That really needs to change!

When I was younger, my grandparents worked at a day centre for people with disabilities and learning difficulties. I occasionally spent time with them there and went to a few of their summer fetes and fundraising events.

I think that that helped to shape my attitude towards disability from a young age. I’m also used to working closely with people who have disabilities as I have treated several guide dogs and assistance dogs in my job as a registered veterinary nurse.

As I was getting ready for my first date with Dan, I’ll admit, I did start to feel anxious. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about his disability at all. I wasn’t sure whether to ask him more about his ataxia, or not to approach it at all. I didn’t want to unintentionally say or do the wrong thing.

But honestly, within the first 10 minutes of our date, all my worries had dissolved. I got completely wrapped up in the easy conversation and Dan’s charm – the wheelchair and his disability became insignificant.

Becky and Dan

“How much do you have to help him? Do you have to push his wheelchair?”

I didn’t have to help Dan at all on our first date. He suggested where we should meet, which meant that he knew what the access there was like. Dan put it bluntly on his dating profile bio: “I’m not looking for a carer, I have my independence.” He drives, has his own place, and works full time.

For our first date, we met at the café and bar at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham. When I arrived, Dan asked what I wanted to drink, then said he’d go in to get it for me. I sat at the table outside wondering how he was going to manage to carry it over. A few minutes later he came back out with a waitress who was carrying my drink.

Knowing that he couldn’t carry it back himself, he easily could’ve sent me to get my own drink, but he didn’t. It might seem like a trivial thing for me to mention, but I think it shows what sort of attitude Dan has.

There are some things that I have to help him with, but he also has to help me out too (like by reaching stuff from the top shelves in the kitchen cupboards! Yes, he can stand…!).

“Will you still be able to experience dating ‘normally’ and fully? Will you miss out or have to make any sacrifices if you’re dating someone with a disability?”

Our first date lasted four and a half hours! Considering that I’ve had more than one first date that didn’t even last an hour, I think that speaks volumes. I’d never clicked so well with someone the first time I’d met them.

After a drink at the café and having a looked around the Ikon Gallery, we went for a drink at a bar in Brindley Place. Even after that, we hadn’t had enough, so we went for dinner.

When I met Dan I was getting my life back after being in an abusive relationship. I was enjoying dating and meeting new people. For a few years, I’d missed out on a lot due to being in a toxic relationship and struggling with anxiety. People close to me just wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss out on anything else, hence this question.

A few months after the end of that relationship, I developed a new-found zest for life. I decided that whenever and wherever possible, I was only going to spend time with people whose company I genuinely enjoyed. I realised I had a lot of making up to do, places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to see.

Dan is honestly the funniest, most determined, and kindest person I’ve met. Within the first couple of months of dating, I’d been out-and-about and had more fun and laughter than I’d had in a really long time. It was quite the opposite of having to ‘make any sacrifices’. He’s brought so much to my life. Ew, gushy.

For just one example of what we’ve been up to so far, you can read my Zip World post.

Becky sitting on Dan's lap in his wheelchair in front of a fountain

“Can you have sex?”

I spent a long time pondering over whether or not to include this in my blog. Initially, I was uncomfortable with putting the blog online at all. So I’m sure you can imagine how I felt about answering this question!

But, the purpose of my blog is to be open and honest, and to address any stigmas. Plus, people really do seem intrigued. So much so that Dan felt the need to mention it in his dating profile – at the end of his bio, he simply put: “And it works…”

So… the answer is yes, we can. And we do.

Dan was the first one to broach the subject when we started dating. He anxiously told me his concerns, and I told him mine. Of course, it’s a bit of an awkward and embarrassing conversation to have when you’re in the early stages of dating. But we both had ‘baggage’ so it was important that we talked about it.

At the time, I was having treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was dubious about opening up to Dan. When you’ve been in an abusive relationship, or if you have a disability, sex can be a much bigger deal than it is for a lot of people.

However, there was no pressure from either side, and luckily we were both on the same page. We agreed that we just had to figure out what works for us both.  It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but sex wasn’t a deal breaker for us. Controversial? But maybe more common than you might think.

There’s a huge list of physical and psychological reasons why sex might be either a problem or just not be that important to someone. We’re all different, and having a disability definitely doesn’t automatically mean that someone doesn’t have a sex life (I can guarantee!). Likewise, being ‘able-bodied’ doesn’t mean your sex life should be amazing and massively active.

Dan and I have found our patience and honesty with each other to be totally worthwhile. So, to summarise, dating someone with a disability doesn’t mean that I’m missing out on anything at all. In Dan, I’ve gained my other half and my best friend.

Oh, also, his wheelchair and lap provide a pretty useful portable seat for when I’m waiting in queues. And I mustn’t forget the parking spaces.

In an attempt to help #EndTheAwkward, I’m happy to answer any other burning questions you might have! Just leave them in the comments section of this article.

By Becky – read more of Becky’s posts on her blog Head over Wheels.

via “Can you have sex?” and other common disability and dating questions


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An image depicting a person in a wheelchair, a person with crutches, and a person sitting on a sofa inside a house, basically highlighting people with disabilities staying at an airbnb location.

More often than not, people with disabilities have to call up hotels or other places where they are staying beforehand, asking whether the room they will be staying in has suitable accommodations for them. In many cases, travelers face difficulties because of lack of accessibility features, which leaves them with a not so satisfactory experience. In order to provide reasonable accommodations to travelers with disabilities, AirBnb has introduced a set of 24 filters that will help them find homes that will make their stay worthwhile, provide them a lot more independence, and allow them to enjoy their vacation a lot more with the least amount of frustration.

If you go to now, and search for “Homes” (accessible filters don’t show up for anything besides homes, like experience, restaurant, etc.), you will be provided with a new section called “accessibility” that lists the following filters:

Entering the home

• Step-free access
• Wide doorway
• Well lit path to entrance
• Flat path to front door
Getting around
• Wide hallways clearance Hallways at least 36″ (90cm) wide.
• Elevators If needed, contact hosts about the width.


• Step-free access
• Wide doorway
• Accessible-height bed
• Wide clearance to bed
• Electric profiling bed


• Step-free access
• Wide doorway
• Roll-in shower
• Bathtub with shower chair
• Accessible-height toilet
• Wide clearance to shower, toilet
• Fixed grab bars for shower
• Handheld shower head
• Shower chair

Common areas

• Step-free access
• Wide entryway


• Disabled parking spot There is a city-approved parking spot or a parking space at least 8ft (2.4m) wide.

However, getting to these filters may be just a bit tricky. Here’s how you get to them.

In the search box, type a location you plan to visit. Make sure to search for “Homes”.

type a location in the search box and make sure to choose homes Once the search results appear, click “more filters”.

click more filters to get to all the accessibility section


Under more filters, look for the Accessibility section and then click “choose home features”.

under Accessibility, click choose home features.

This is where you will see a list of 24 accessibility related filters. Choose the ones you need for your stay, and click Save. Your search results will be updated now.

choose all filters you require under "accessibility needs".


To see what accommodations a specific listing provides, click on it and scroll to the Accessibility section.


And there you have it. AirBnb’s filters are very specific, and can help you find a home that will meet your exact needs in terms of accessibility. Next time you travel, give these filters a try, and let us know how they worked out for you!

Source: Fast Company

via AirBnb Now Provides 24 Accessibility Related Filters For Travelers With Disabilities – Assistive Technology Blog

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[BLOG POST] Assistive Technology Blog: How To Make Your House Wheelchair Accessible – Infographic

Source: Assistive Technology Blog: How To Make Your House Wheelchair Accessible

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[WEB SITE] Wheelchair Skills Video Series – The Empowerment Project Videos

Wheelchair Skills Video Series

man in wheelchair with front wheels off the ground, demonstrating a wheelie

Learn proper techniques for performing manual wheelchair skills and managing different kinds of terrain so you can be as independent as possible in your life. These short videos will show you how.

References and Resources

  1. Anneken V, Hanssen-Doose A, Hirschfeld S, Scheuer T, Thietje R. Influence of physical exercise on quality of life in individuals with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord. 2010;48:319-399.
  2. Axelson P, Chesney D, Minkel J, Perr A. The Manual Wheelchair Training Guide. 1st ed. San Francisco, CA: PAX Press; 1998.
  3. Best K, Kirby R, Smith C, MacLeod D. Wheelchair Skills Training for community-based manual wheelchair users: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2005;86:2316-2123.
  4. Bonaparte J, Kirby R, MacLeod. Learning to perform wheelchair wheelies: comparison of 2 training strategies. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;85:785-793.
  5. Bonaparte J, Kirby R, MacLeod D. Proactive balance strategy while maintaining a stationary wheelie.Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001;82:475-479.
  6. Coolen A, Kirby R, Landry J, et al. Wheelchair Skills Training Program for clinicians: a randomized controlled trial with occupational therapy students. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;85:1160-1170.
  7. Kilkens O, Post M, Dallmeijer A, van Asbeck F, van der Woude L. Relationship between manual wheelchair skill performance and participation of persons with spinal cord injuries 1 year after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2005;42:65-74.
  8. Kirby R, Gillis D, Boudreau A, et al. Effect of a high-rolling-resistance training method on the success rate and time required to learn the wheelchair wheelie skill. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;87:204-211.
  9. Kirby R, Smith C, Seaman R, Macleod D, Parker K. The manual wheelchair wheelie: a review of our current understanding of an important motor skill. Disabil Rehabil: Assistive Technology. 2006;1:119-127.
  10. Kirby R, Bennett S, Smith C, Parker K, Thompson K. Wheelchair curb climbing: randomized controlled comparison of highly structured and conventional training methods. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89:2342-2348.
  11. Kirby R, DiPersio M, MacLoed D. Wheelchair safety: effect of locking or grasping the rear wheels during a rear tip. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1996;77:1266-1270.
  12. Koshi E, Kirby R, MacLeod D, Kozey J, Thompson K, Parker KE. The effect of rolling resistance on stationary wheelchair wheelies. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2006;85:899-907.
  13. Kwarciak A, Cooper RA, Fitzgerald SG. Curb descent testing of suspension manual wheelchairs. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2008;45:73-84.
  14. MacPhee A, Kirby R, Coolen A, Smith C, MacLeod D, Dupuis D.. Wheelchair Skills Training Program: a randomized clinical trial of wheelchair users undergoing initial rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004;85:41-50.
  15. Wheelchair Skills Training Program. Dalhousie University. Available at: Accessed September 18. 2010.

Source: Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System

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[WEB SITE] This Light, Affordable Exoskeleton Could Be a Real Alternative to the Wheelchair

Not all exoskeletons need to give you superhuman strength. The exoskeleton startup company SuitX has developed an exoskeleton known as the Phoenix robotic system that was designed specifically to help people with paraplegia or other spinal cord injuries walk. It’s light, cheap, and feasible enough that it just might be practical.

Although SuitX also makes heavy-duty exoskeletons for industrial work environments, their Phoenix suit is designed to be as light and simple as possible. Most exoskeleton designs attempt to provide multiple benefits at once, such aid in lifting heavy objects, using tools with precision, and the ability to squat comfortably as if you were sitting on a chair. SuitX’s Phoenix keeps only the necessities for someone with hindered mobility to sit, stand, and walk.

The Phoenix has a motor on each hip but forgoes powered knee joints that are on many exoskeleton designs in favor of simple locking hinges around the knees. Using crutches to stabilize the system, the hip motors move each leg forward to allow paraplegics and people with other mobility ailments walk on level ground.  It’s a new option for folks who would otherwise have no option beyond a wheelchair.

At 27 pounds, the Phoenix exoskeleton is one of the lightest on the market. The minimalist exoskeleton is expected to go on sale next month for a price of $40,000, relatively inexpensive for an exoskeleton suit. SuitX hopes to drive that price down even further by scaling up production in the coming years. And if it is a real, viable alternative to the wheelchair, you have to imagine there will be some demand.

Source: Fast Company via Discovery News

Source: This Light, Affordable Exoskeleton Could Be a Real Alternative to the Wheelchair

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[WEB SITE] Engineer invents hands-free wheelchair for best friend

Kevin Halsall designed the Ogo wheelchair for his best friend. Credit: Ogo Technology

When Marcus Thompson was left paraplegic after a skiing accident, his best friend Kevin Halsall wanted to design a wheelchair that would suit his active lifestyle.

The New Zealand engineer came up with a “game changing” wheelchair, called the Ogo, based on Segway technology that enables the user to move intuitively, more precisely and hands-free.

And with special features, like being able to change tyres to allow users to travel in all terrains, the wheelchair can move up to 20km per hour even off-road.

The prototype, which took Mr Halsall alongside Mr Thompson four years of development, is now a finalist in the National Innovators Awards and is in the process of being made available for purchase.

“The disabled are exactly like you and me, they all need freedom and excitement in their life. And Ogo takes that to a whole new level. It will go faster, it will go more places and is smaller and lighter than just about anything else.And the fact that you can operate it completely hands-free makes Ogo a definite game-changer.– KEVIN HALSALL”

Users simply lean in the direction of travel and use their core muscles even to stay in balance which occupational therapists say is a key benefit of the Ogo.

Its hands-free design will enable users freedom to do more from playing sports to mowing the lawn.

“It’s one of the life affirming things that this machine does, it puts you in touch with your whole body again,” Mr Thompson said.

Marcus Thompson helped developed the Ogo and demonstrates its use as a sports wheelchair. Credit: Ogo Technology

The Ogo has been tested on people with disabilities from T4 to T12 and some tetraplegics. Anyone with abdominal control can operate the device hands free.

Those without abdominal control can still use the chair by holding on to its sides.

The wheelchair also has stabilisers for when users are working or lifting items off the floor. The battery-powered wheelchair can also be steered manually.

A price for the Ogo is yet to be fixed but Mr Halsall says he wants to keep it as low as he can to “make it affordable to people that need it”.

Source: Engineer invents hands-free wheelchair for best friend – ITV News

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[REVIEW] Mobility and the Lower Extremity | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text PDF


Rehabilitation techniques of sensorimotor complications post stroke fall loosely into one of two categories; the compensatory approach or the restorative approach. While some overlap exists, the underlying philosophies of care are what set them apart. The goal of the compensatory approach towards treatment is not necessarily on improving motor recovery or reducing impairments but rather on teaching patients a new skill, even if it only involves pragmatically using the non-involved side (Gresham et al. 1995). The restorative approach focuses on traditional physical therapy exercises and neuromuscular facilitation, which involves sensorimotor stimulation, exercises and resistance training, designed to enhance motor recovery and maximize brain recovery of the neurological impairment (Gresham et al. 1995). In this review, rehabilitation of mobility and lower extremity complications is assessed. An overview of literature pertaining to the compensatory approach and the restorative approach is provided. Treatment targets discussed include balance retraining, gait retraining, strength training, cardiovascular conditioning and treatment of contractures in the lower extremities. Technologies used to aid rehabilitation include assistive devices, electrical stimulation, and splints.

Get Full Text PDF

via Mobility and the Lower Extremity | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation.

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