With the advancement of technology, wheelchairs have gone through an excellent change. Hand-operated wheelchairs have been substituted by electric wheelchairs. The electrically powered chair offers individuals more convenience, independence, and additional features. People with mobility issues or those experiencing severe health problems can switch to electric wheelchairs to get access to numerous amazing functions.
What is an Electric Wheelchair?
Unlike conventional or hand-operated wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs run through the battery-operated motor. For this reason, such wheelchairs are also known as a power chair or motorized wheelchair. The very first motor-powered wheelchair was introduced in the early 1900s. (know more)
Innovations in Electric Wheelchair
The conventional electric wheelchairs were made with heavy-duty manual folding frames that were powered by motors, pulleys, lead-acid batteries, and drive belts. But such systems were quite simplistic. They even need a joystick to regulate the movement of the wheelchair. Even the seating system was made of back upholstery and sling seat that drastically limited postural support for the individuals.
But with mechanical advancements, there were powerful batteries and motor designed underneath the seat in electric wheelchairs. The power system separated electric wheelchair into two parts – the base offering mobility and seating offering proper postural support. Additionally, there was a shift from conventional base to the power base.
Besides this, the other advancements introduced in an electric wheelchair were the ability to provide power tilt, recline systems, speed regulation, direction changes, performance settings, and acceleration. The advances in control systems enabled individuals to control the wheelchair to fullest through involuntary movement.
Use of Electric Wheelchair
Just like a conventional wheelchair, the even electric wheelchair is used to offer independent mobility and convenience to disable, elderlies or those suffering from a severe health problem. But as compared to a traditional wheelchair, electric wheelchairs offer more comfort, convenience, and safety to the users. It is because these wheelchairs are simple to control and require very less work and energy from the user.
The electric wheelchair is more durable than hand-operated wheelchairs. This makes it highly popular among people who love to travel around on their own.
There are numerous types of electric wheelchairs found online these days. Such chairs are recognized for enhanced mobility and safety. You can find electric wheelchairs designed especially for adults, old people, kids, and obese individuals. To help you with we have put together a detailed review on Best Electric Wheelchairs available, read it here.
Types of Electric Wheelchair
Though previous electric wheelchairs include single driving mechanism and simple features, technological innovation has resulted in the introduction of various types of electric wheelchairs. These power chairs depend on the uses and strength.
There are specially designed electric wheelchairs for outdoors and indoors. But no matter which type of wheelchair you purchase, it can have 3 different types of driving mechanisms:
- Rear Wheel Driving – This is probably the most popular form of driving mechanism among hand-operated and electric wheelchairs. These types of wheelchairs offer better turning capabilities and are easy to drive.
- Mid Wheel Driving – Such types of power chairs are designed mainly for indoors. They are not ideal for movement over rough surfaces. It is because wheelchairs with mid-wheel driving consist of challenging turning capabilities. Though it includes an additional middle wheel to reduce tipping, it is still unstable.
- Front Wheel Driving – This is the most commonly used electric wheelchair that includes front wheel option for driving. It is highly versatile and ideal for indoors as well as outdoors.
Other than this, electric wheelchairs can have two types of drive mechanisms – direct drive and indirect drive. The indirect drive system contains drive belts and pulleys whereas direct drive system contains gearboxes. Most of the modern electric wheelchairs host a power base with the direct drive system. These chairs typically use gel batteries, absorbent glass mat batteries, or wet cell batteries.
Which One Must You Select?
There is push-rim activated power supported electric wheelchairs also available that incorporate the features of electric wheelchairs as well as hand-operated wheelchairs. These wheelchairs comprise an ultra-light manual with an external power source in the form of motor or batteries.
Such wheelchairs are ideal for individuals of all ages and sizes. These chairs boost the user’s ability to propel the chair manually. The push-rim incorporates sensors that can identify the direction as well as the magnitude of the force applied by the individual.
Electric wheelchairs are undoubtedly one of the best innovations for disables and people suffering from health issues. But these chairs are quite expensive to buy. So, if you have some additional money and want to get additional comfort during your drive, then an electric wheelchair is the best option available.