Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wheelchair with levers may work well in developing or industrialized countries

From Gizmodo:

The problem with current wheelchairs? They're not versatile enough for developing countries' unpaved roads, steep hillsides and generally handicap unfriendly buildings. Enter the Leveraged Freedom Chair, a more powerful wheelchair controlled by levers that moves like a mountain bike.

The LFC is made entirely from bike parts and works similarly to a mountain bike. The wheelchair uses a lever system to maneuver with different grips offering different benefits—a high grip gives more torque, a low grip increases angular velocity—sorta like switching gears on a bike. Bonus points: any old bike shop will be able to repair it too.

The team behind the LFC actually built two models of the wheelchair, a version for developing countries and another for first-world countries. Buyers of the first-world model (better construction, lighter, etc) charitably pay for the developing countries' too. $3000 gets you the first-world LFC and gives three developing countries models away to those in need.

That would be tremendously annoying to have your world separated into three panels by two tall levers projecting into your field of view, always. Especially if you lived in your wheelchair.
That would be enough to quell my interest in this chair if I were wheelchair-bound.

Not to mention, it seems easier to move levers in an up-down direction rather than a forward-back direction, for someone in a chair. Your weight keeps your body from moving up-down, and would be easier on your shoulders, and eliminate any back-twisting motion.
And would solve that annoying view problem.