The Advent of Wheelchairs
In the year 1881, the first modern wheelchair was unveiled in Europe. Since then, people with walking disabilities have found hope. Even if they would not be able to walk again, they would be able to take mobility through the use of the simple machine. Basically, wheelchairs are machines simple seating furniture that is attached to a pair of wheels to facilitate mobility.
In the 20th century, more initiatives were done to be able to further contribute to the development of wheelchairs. In 1918, the pioneering motorized wheelchairs were developed. Following that, in 1933 miner Herbert Everest and his engineer friend Harry Jennings Sr built wheelchairs for their own use. Mr Everest was paralyzed in a mining facility accident.
The modern wheelchairs are direct descendants of the wheelchair jointly developed by a team of inventors and innovators, including Jeff Minnebraker of California, Rainier Kuschall of Europe and Errol Markheim of Germany. The group was able to come up with a wheelchair that was lightweight and highly adjustable. The wheelchair was made up purely of aluminum, which is attributed for the light weight. Wheelchairs have since been convenient and light and were easily transported from a site to several other different locations.
Since the development of wheelchairs, many initiatives have been made to modify and update the basic features of the machines. In the past, wheelchairs were heavy and were very bulky to accommodate the user. Now, those features are scrapped and are reversed so as to provide users with convenience and easier access to wheelchairs’ usefulness.
The modern wheelchairs are also different and exhibit significant improvements from the early models and types of wheelchairs that have been rolled out earlier in the market. While in the past, wheelchairs were principally and basically pulled and pushed to become mobile, modern wheelchairs are employing the aid of different energy sources to facilitate movement and mobility.
On top of that, modern wheelchairs are also made to become more comfortable and cozy. The seats are made softer and cushions used are better and more convenient to facilitate more comfort. The wheels are made bigger, lighter and more efficient so as to facilitate better movement and mobility.
Modern types of wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are currently categorized into two big groups, namely, manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs. The two differ on how they basically operate.
Manual wheelchairs are impressively the direct forefathers of modern types of wheelchairs. These wheelchairs are basically moved by manual or mechanical pushing and pulling. There are two basic and most common subgroups: self-propelled and attendant-propelled. Self-propelled wheelchairs tend to lend some form of independence. The wheelchairs enable the user to decide and empower himself or herself on the direction of the operations and the speed. The user manipulates the wheels directly.
Attendant-propelled wheelchairs tend to make users dependent on other people. That is because these wheelchairs move when they are propelled or pushed by an attendant or another person who is taking care of the wheelchair user. As such, the attendant has the more control of the direction and speed of the machine, with or without the instructions and directions of the user.
Power wheelchairs are those that are operated less conventionally. These machines run using energy derived from energy sources like electricity and gasoline. It can also be easily inferred that power wheelchairs are more convenient and are more preferred by a rising number of wheelchair users all over the world.
The manner by which power chairs are operated also varies from traditionally and conventionally operated ones. Power wheelchairs can be run using steering wheels like in cars or in modern times, are sun by joysticks like those used in modern consumer electronic products.
Prices for different types of wheelchairs also differ. Of course, it is easily inferred that wheelchairs are a little premium priced especially in the modern markets. The materials used even in the simplest wheelchairs are costly. Thus, the cheapest brands are also sometimes not afforded by common and average-income households.
Power wheelchairs are having tag prices that are significantly and noticeably high. With the modern technology used in the development and manufacturing of such products, it is widely anticipated and expected that such sophisticated wheelchairs are expensive, making them impossible to be afforded by the masses. Aside from that, maintenance and operations are costly because of the energy requirements.