Take a load off

October 25, 2019 5:55 am
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Helping makes us human

For as far back as records have been been found, scientists and archaeologists have unearthed rudimentary wheelchairs and aids for those less able. The reason behind this, it could be argued, is humanity’s driving force and fundamental willingness to alter the world around them to fit the needs of those who cannot do so themselves. Throughout time, the design has been continually upgraded and developed to meet the emerging contemporary needs of its users and are now feats of engineering genius that are the byproduct of generations of design refinement. Anyone looking for lightweight wheelchairs, ought to look no further than the chairs we supply here at Karma Mobility, which will fit all the requirements of the user and aid their day to day lives in innumerable ways.

Rolling with the times

The earliest dated wheelchair came from around the 4th century, although they have probably existed in some fashion or other forever. Wherever there have been those who cannot carry themselves unaided, scientists and early engineers, have made use of the materials available to them from their era to aid them in any way possible. Wheelchairs, in the form that we commonly recognise today, initially began to take shape around 1750 when English inventor and engineer James Heath created his ‘Bath chair’. Whilst wheelchairs had existed for centuries prior to Heath’s invention, the Bath Chair – named in honour of the town which Heath hailed from – was the first design of its kind to feature the format of two small wheels at the front, and two larger wheels at the back. This marked a turning upon in the chair’s design history and henceforth became the standard format for all further developments of Heath’s design.

Design ingenuity

Over the century to follow, there were numerous developments and additions to the chair’s design, but the next crucial moment did not come to pass until around 1932, when American engineer and disabled person Harry C. Jennings created the first collapsible wheelchair from tubular steel. Jennings’ design was revolutionary, as it was the first design of its kind to not only maximise storage and usability, but to be far lighter than any previous design available. The advent of tubular steel was revolutionary in steering design to where it is today, and coincided with an increased focus on sporting use as a possibility, as the manoeuvrability of the chairs increased in turn.

Feats of ingenious design

Lightweight wheelchairs of today have the ability to withstand an excess of 100 kg of pressure, whilst simultaneously weighing in at as little as 8 kg. Modern lightweight wheelchair models also generally include many aspects that have been tweaked to maximise usability and comfort, such as fused footrests, collapsible arm rests and an attached anti microbe barrier. These contemporary additions to the chair’s design are made so to maximise the possibility that they afford the user, and scientists and engineers are making use of new and emerging technological advancements and methods to potentially take the design to new heights. Just recently engineers and scientists launched the ‘RoScooter’, which is the first electrically propelled three wheeled mobility scooter which affords its users many contemporary innovations and allows them to reach new, previously unavailable benefits in mobility.

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This post was written by Todd Rich

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