An electric wheelchair is a mechanism that is propelled by means of an electric motor rather than manual power. Also known as a motorized wheelchair or powerchair, it is powered by a battery and controlled by an electronic device. Most electric wheelchairs operate via a joystick. Furthermore, certain high-end powerchairs feature a ‘standing’ capability. In these, either the entire seat elevates to bring the user to standing height or the seat-base. Moreover, electronics are now attached to some electric wheelchairs. Accessories such as  LED fender lights, a USB charger, a cell phone holder are attached to the wheelchair.

How an Electric Wheelchair Works

An electric wheelchair is not a one-size-fits-all product. It is customizable, having rechargeable batteries. The batteries power a motor or motors which make the wheels move. You use a ball or joystick to operate the wheelchair. Moreover, electric wheelchairs provide increased mobility and independence, allowing users to take part in everyday activities, despite having reduced mobility. Also, every electric wheelchair has basic parts such as motor, battery, drive, and controller.

Evolution

Electric wheelchairs have come a long way since their original inception in 1953 by Canadian George Klein. Back then, these were used to help wounded war veterans. With humanity’s amazing advancements in science and technology, power wheelchair design has been positively transformed. Furthermore, making it easier than ever for people with physical challenges to freely and safely move around.

Benefits

Electric wheelchairs provide maximum comfort, freedom, and support to the users. Therefore, one must prefer buying a power wheelchair over a manual one considering its benefits:

1. Increased independence

The main benefit of using an electric wheelchair is the freedom it gives you. Contextually, it provides increased independence due to its ease-of-use and the ability to travel. Also, increased independence translates into increased confidence.

2. Mobility

Electric wheelchairs provide constant support for users. Specifically designed to fit, and maneuver, into small spaces making them ideal for use. Furthermore, they can be used on difficult terrains, like pavements and slopes. Also, transit wheelchairs are lightweight and ideal for traveling.  The majority of public transport services are wheelchair accessible, and motorized wheelchairs can be taken on board. 

3. Comfort

Good quality wheelchairs designed for comfort and include suspension, choice of wheels, changeable cushions, and adjustable footrest positions. They provide comfort for those who cannot stand or struggle to stand for long periods. 

4. Socialization

Socialization is vital for emotional and physical health. An electric wheelchair, with other mobility aids, enables users to participate in their favorite activities.  It gives the user a more active lifestyle that may result in a more positive outlook on life.

5. Superior Support

The electric wheelchairs provide comfort for your legs, head, body, and arms without causing any kind of inconvenience thereby providing a feeling of superior support. Electric wheelchair not only ensures your safety but also provides you better comfort.

Electric Wheelchair Features

Technological innovation and advancement led to the development of multiple design options and features in electric wheelchairs. Today’s power wheelchairs come in quite a vast assortment to meet user’s needs as outlined below: 

  • Rear, middle, or front-wheel drive: Front-wheel-drive power wheelchairs are gaining popularity as they are well suited and versatile for both indoor and outdoor use have a better turning radius than rear-driven designs. Mid-wheel-driven models are best for larger indoor environments or smooth surfaced outdoor environments.
  • Portability, disassembly, and foldability: Modern power wheelchairs come in configurations that easily disassemble into smaller, lightweight parts. They have the capability to fold down for simpler storage and portability in a vehicle.  
  • Adjustability: They offer adjustability for the seat, footrests, and other components of the wheelchair for a perfect fit and optimal comfort. A reclining feature adds comfort, especially for extended sitting.
  • Maneuverability and turning radius: Some electric wheelchairs can go as low as 20 inches for turning radius. This enables easy maneuverability of the wheelchair to move in any direction which is to move forward, side to side, and backward. 

How to Choose the Best Electric Wheelchair?

Know your needs to choose the best-motorized wheelchair. It is important to choose the size that will fit YOU the best. Even slight discomfort can become a huge pain when you’re using the wheelchair on a daily basis. So, be sure to check the weight capacity of the wheelchair before purchase. Learn about the features and other components of each wheelchair, such as support and positioning options, anti-tipping and other safety features, freewheel operation capabilities, and battery power and charging times to help in decision-making.

Spotlight: Scewo Electric Wheelchair

This is the wheelchair of the future. A wheelchair that can climb stairs independently! It is the world’s coolest wheelchair. It is a self-balancing wheelchair that can go up and down stairs independently and smoothly. Furthermore, this innovation offers its users a dynamic experience for navigating over obstacles, with multiple rubber tracks providing a smooth and safe ride on the stairs. Four university students from ETH Zurich + ZHDK, created this innovative wheelchair and managed to fund ‘Scewo’ independently. 

Scewo intelligent wheelchair
scewo intelligent wheelchair

Features of Scewo electric wheelchair:

  • Safe mode for getting on and off or standing still.
  • Elevated mode for eye-to-eye communication and reaching high-lying objects.
  • Track mode to overcome slippery and steep surfaces like snow or gravel.
  • Sturdy rubber tracks to provide a safe and comfortable transition up or downstairs.
  • Extra-wide base to stabilize the wheelchair on spiral staircases. 
  • Self-balancing feature to provide agile maneuvering and dynamic driving on uneven terrains. 
  • Joystick operation to adjust body weight to control the height and speed of the chair.

Ever thought of how interesting a wheelchair that can multitask will be? In light of this, Scewo is a wheelchair that represents an intelligent product of creativity. 

In Summation

Electric wheelchairs/ power chairs are very advanced. They ultimately reduce the inconvenience of manual pushing of the wheels. Bagged with advanced features and uses, they appeal to a wider customer base. Therefore, choose the right one based on needs, usability, features, and relevance. 

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