The wheelchair is a permanent solution to many disabled due to age, sickness or some mishap.
But many are unable to use it due to various factors. Some do not consider it due to the cost, some scared of life, some scared of injury and many other reasons. This fear is because of the traditional wheelchair. But with research the pioneers in this field have come up with many wheelchair innovations to help the disabled and the needy.
A mechanical engineer named Don Schoendorfer a native of Orange County, California after intensive study found out that a big percentage of people around the globe consist of most miserable living people who hardly earned $2 daily and such people could hardly afford even the ordinary wheelchair. He set a target to invent the worlds low cost wheelchair which can serve the purpose of the poor disabled people.
After a long struggle daily, finally he settled upon the common plastic lawn chair as the base with two strong bike tires and a traditional frame to hold it. The result was amazing. An economic wheelchair was invented which was sold for just fifty dollars through a non profit organization started by Schoendorfer. They shipped around 75,000 wheelchairs to disabled people in Peru, Angola, India and Iraq. His mission was to provide 20 million free wheelchairs around the globe by the year 2010.
Jerry Ford from Minnesota, a farmer who later became an inventor, was inspired by his son, who saw the difficulties faced by the aged in using manual wheelchairs. They could not apply the brakes on time or gave too much pressure on the armrest which in result rolled off the wheelchair out of control. The patients were mostly senile people or ones affected by Alzheimer disease. Gil Gutknecht a congressman has also felt the problem grave as the roll of from the wheelchair would be death as the patients were very weak to manage.
Jerry Ford invented the automatic wheelchair with just spare parts valuing $19. His automatic wheelchair had auto locking brakes and wheels locked which can help the wheelchair from skidding and avert the person from falling.
Another inventor in Australia Nick Morris brought about another improvement in the field of wheelchairs. He invented the Vulcan Wheel a single piece aluminum wheelchair based on the human factors, both for regular use and also for sports. It had a wide surface which helps to steer the wheelchair comfortably and had both wheel rim and push rim like the traditional wheelchair. Morris had obsession for sports, but an injury due to a motor cycle mishap at the age of 16 led him to this invention also a source to his therapy. He modernized the traditional wheelchair with another person David Goding.
The traditional wheelchairs have wheel and push rim and the user hold the push or wheel rim to move forward. The five joint around the wheel make it possible for the user to get his/her hands caught in the gaps. The clothing of the person or the sticks too has the same problem of getting jammed. The space between the wheel rim and the push rim is very less creating discomfort. But the design Morris invented had no such problem or fear of getting fingers or other objects getting caught between the rims.
As it is a single piece the wheel is of less weight and the chances of the parts breaking down is absent here. It provides a more improved stability with the push rim that it leaves no room for the wheelchair top bend or collapse when pushed making it a perfect model for wheelchair sports.
Another organization, Augusta Georgia firm invented the portable wheelchair for the convenience of the disabled who travel. A foldable light wheelchair weighing just 17 lbs made out of aircraft aluminum but which has the potency of steel. It has flip back armrests, folding footrests, adjustable wheel locks along with compact chairs bagged and carried with a handle. This has everything a normal wheelchair has but it is handy and of light weight.
Nick Morris, Jerry Ford, David Goding and Don Schoendorfer have made considerable share of innovation through their inventions which have brought about a great progress in the world of wheelchairs. There are more innovations to come for the comfort of the disabled in this 21st century.
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