Trends and Issues in Wheelchair TechnologiesBy Cooper, Rory A.; Cooper, Rosemarie; Boninger, Michael L.; Assistive Technology, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 61-72
Publication Date: 2008
Paper outlines current trends in the usage and development of wheelchairs and discusses the impact of new wheeled-mobility technologies on the environment and transportation. Emerging wheeled-mobility devices discussed include the pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchair (PAPAW), which uses motors and a battery to augment the power applied to pushrims during propulsion; the Independence 3000 IBOT, which incorporates sensors and actuators for dynamic stabilization of the device, speed control, and operational functions in indoor- and outdoor environments; and bariatric wheelchairs, designed for individuals who weigh more than 250 pounds. These new wheelchairs are expected to expand the population of users moving independently throughout the community, which will have an impact on the built environment; for example, bariatric wheelchairs require much more space than is accommodated by current architecture or city planning. Issues related to wheeled-mobility transportation addressed include the cost of vehicle modifications, the lack of widely acceptable and versatile securement systems, the need for reliable and simple-to-operate lift systems, and the lack of standardized wheelchair securement in public buses. A projected increase in wheelchair demand of 22 percent in the next 10 years is attributed to an aging baby-boomer population, growing longevity, increasing obesity, and increased incidence of spinal-cord injury. The authors conclude that this projected increase will require new service delivery mechanisms, changes to public policy, and greater coordination between consumers, policy makers, manufacturers, researchers, and service providers.
Assistive Products Discussed: IBOT MOBILITY SYSTEM
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J54868