Life-Changing New Mobility Aids!
Mobility aids are crucial for anyone living with paralysis, and new models with groundbreaking innovations are always exciting. I scoured the internet and found these great products that could, in fact, change your life.
Photo credit: Thiis Magazine
Designability, a UK-based charity that creates innovative products and services for people with disabilities, has launched what it says is the world’s first accessible pushchair for manual wheelchair users. It can be used by a parent with a disability their caregiver, or companion.
As the company points out, parents with disabilities who use wheelchairs often have no safe way to get to shops or anywhere else with their young child. That means they often have to stay at home or ask someone who doesn’t have a disability to go with them, which is a real blow to independence. Other parents have their child sit on their lap, which isn’t particularly safe or comfortable.
“As well as the practical difficulties, disabled parents have told us about the emotional impact of having to be dependent on others to go out with their baby or toddler, and that this means they feel [like] a ‘lesser’ parent,” the company says.
That’s why the company is designing a pushchair that “will deliver an uncompromising experience” for people with disabilities. To do that, the design replaces the traditional rear wheels/footbrake assembly, turning any conventional pushchair into an accessible pushchair.
Although the product has completed safety testing and is being patented, Designability is still looking for a manufacturing partner. Once it finds one, the pushchair will be a boon to parents and others with disabilities around the world.
Motorized Lifting Wheelchair
Photo credit: Chronus Robotics
The goal of the Kim-e, a Segway-like, self-balancing wheelchair, is to be “invisible” — that is, to be so unobtrusive that people are less likely to notice it.
Marketed to people with paraplegia or other lower-limb disabilities, the Kim-e is a power wheelchair that:
• is completely controlled by upper body movements, rather than a traditional joystick or other controls, leaving the user’s hands free
• can change height from sitting to standing in seconds and allows easy and comfortable operation at eye level
• can travel at about 12 mph (20 kph)
• is agile and maneuverable, even in the narrowest spaces, and is more compact than a manual wheelchair
• weighs less than 99 lbs (40 kg)
• is designed to move freely indoors, outdoors, and even off-road.
When you’re sitting in the Kim-e in the lowered position, lifting yourself to eye level is as simple as pushing a button. You can control it with a smartphone, and an integrated shock absorber cushions your ride.
The designers prioritized comfort as well, with an ergonomic saddle, backrest, and leg supports. The seat height adjusts from about 19-31 inches (50-88 cm) off the ground, and the backrest folds for easier travel and transport.
According to manufacturer Chronus Robotics, the Kim-e helps keep your trunk muscles in better shape than a traditional wheelchair because you lean to steer. Perhaps most importantly, sitting at eye level with those around you provides a sense of dignity you just can’t get with a traditional wheelchair.
Splitable Travel Scooter
Photo credit: Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare
There are lots of lightweight, transportable scooters out there, but the AstroLite caught my eye for a number of reasons. Brought to us by heath care equipment manufacturer Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare, the AstroLite is the company’s lightest mobility scooter that splits (rather than folds) for transport.
The heaviest part of this extremely portable scooter only weighs about 22 lbs. (9.9 kg), and the front impact bar doubles as a carrying handle for easily lifting it in and out of a vehicle’s trunk or cargo area.
Other key features include:
• All-round suspension for a comfortable ride
• Comfortable padded seat and backrest
• 360-degree swivel and removable seat
• Flip-up and adjustable/removable armrests to help with transfers
• Turning radius of just 94 inches (125 cm)
• A top speed of 4 mph and a maximum range of 11.4 miles (18.4 km) with the larger available battery
• Solid, puncture-proof PU tires
• Rear anti-tip wheels
• Automatic electromagnetic brake system
• Analogue display
“In recent times, we’ve focused heavily on our folding scooter range and I’m really pleased with the results,” Dallas Newsham, Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare international category manager, told AT Today. “However there are still many customers who prefer the more traditional scooter that splits for transportation. The challenge was to develop a new model that would offer something different, some key innovative features that would represent a true step up from our previous scooters in its class, [and] I believe with the AstroLite, we’ve done exactly that.”
If you’re in the market for a new wheelchair, read all about how to buy one before plunking down your hard-earned cash.