Tech Guide: Power-Assist SystemsBy Troop, Alan; Life in Action, Volume 1, Number 3, pages 28-29
Publication Date: November/December 2011
Product review evaluates two power-assist systems for manual wheelchairs, the e.motion and the Quickie Xtender. (1) The e.motion is described as a system mounted entirely within a wheelchair’s wheels. As such, it can be installed on most chairs with little modification. The system is driven by lithium ion batteries that reportedly travel up to 16 miles on a charge. It can be operated at two speeds which are chosen by pressing a wheel-mounted button. Advantages to the system mentioned are its quiet and simple operation and a quick and easy procedure for switching between e.motion and regular manual wheelchair wheels. Drawbacks noted are the weight of the wheels, at 30 pounds each, and their adding 2 to 3 inches of width to the chair. (2) The Quickie Xtender has motors mounted on its wheels and powered by a single battery carried in a holder attached to the back of the chair. The powered wheels are easily disconnected and weigh 17.5 pounds. The motors engage when the user pushes on the chair’s hand rims, providing power proportional to the pusher’s effort and, according to the manufacturer, a user can experience up to a 45 percent boost from the system. The Xtender’s wheel synchronization helps users maintain a straight line of tracking and, when traveling downhill, the system’s motor gearing acts as a brake. Disadvantages to the Xtender noted by users include a rather noisy ride and low traveling distance on a battery charge. To explore other power-assist products on the market, readers are advised to visit United Spinal Association’s site, http://usatechguide.org.
Assistive Products Discussed: E-MOTION
Published by: United Spinal Association (Website:http://www.unitedspinal.org)
United Spinal Association (Web Site: http://www.unitedspinal.org )
Link to text: http://www.spinalcord.org/lifeinaction/LIA_Nov_Dec_11/#?page=28