Rolling through the ages

October 18, 2019 8:52 am
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Here for everyone

Here at Karma Mobility, we pride ourselves on putting the needs of our clientele at the centre of everything we do, and taking all possible action to minimise their discomfort and afford them the possibility to reach tremendous heights. By utilising decades of design refinement and expertise, we are now able to provide customers with wheelchairs that weigh in at less than 8 kg. Anyone looking for lightweight wheelchairs need look no further than Karma Mobility.

As old as time

Wheelchairs, in some fashion, have existed for as long as time. One of the most enduring human qualities that sets us apart as a species, is our ability to cater to the world around us, to benefit the needs of those less able to do so. Scientists found wheelchairs that date back to the 4th century, but they probably predate records. Throughout history, as tools and access to new materials emerge, the design of the chair has continually been upgraded and refined, making use of the emerging technologies of its time. Self-propelled wheelchairs that resemble the ones used today first began to take shape in Europe around 1750, when James Heath, an English inventor, created his Bath chair. The chair, so named in tribute to the city Heath hailed from, was the first chair of its kind to feature two large wheels at the back and two smaller wheels at the front. This design revolutionised contemporary wheelchair design, and paved the way for the feats of engineering and craft available today.

Rolling with the times

Since Heath’s Bath chair, the wheelchair design has continued to be further developed throughout the years, to benefit those using it and improve their way of life. One of the next stages in the chair’s history did exactly that in 1932, when Harry C. Jennings, an American mechanical engineer, created the first collapsible wheelchair from tubular steel. This was a giant leap forward for design, as the tubular steel not only increased the manoeuvrability and storage capacity of the chair, but also it largely decreased its weight. Jennings’ design was again pivotal in the chair’s development, as it inspired a continual focus on depressing the chair’s overall weight, which in turn produced the lightweight wheelchairs available today. Lightweight wheelchairs models available today can often weigh in at just 8.7 kg whilst still being able to withstand an excess of 100 kg. Such chairs also often feature folding hand-rests, an attached anti microbe barrier, and foot rests which are fixed.

Sign of the times

These feats of contemporary design truly are impressive in their capacity to aid the lives of others. However, in an age of technological prowess, teams of scientists, engineers and designers are working closely with disabled patients to further the chair’s usability. As technology advances, engineers can make use of new and emerging technologies to meet contemporary needs. Recently, a fully motorised wheelchair was created by a graduate of the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. The chair, named the ‘Carrier’, was designed to deal with many of the limitations faced by many, such as going to the toilet, or reaching higher heights. Whilst it is still in the early, formative days, the design of this chair and others like it proves that scientists and engineers will not stop working until they have made the ultimate in lightweight wheelchairs.

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This post was written by Todd Rich

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