Life becomes complicated when a person gets seriously injured in his legs. Sometimes, these injuries lead to permanent disabilities following which, the lives of those injured are changed forever. The outcomes of some accidents turn out to be fatal. Wheel Chairs remind us of Stephen Hawking, who spent his life in wheel chairs. When it is inevitable, a person who is permanently disabled must find ways to make his life comfortable in an ergonomic wheel chair that should not lead to further injuries.
Researchers from Austria’s Technische Universität Wien (Vienna University, of Technology), found out that propelling conventional wheelchairs put users’ joints in unnatural and potentially injury-causing positions. They established what is believed to be an ergonomic substitute, in the form of a hand-cranked wheelchair.
Prof. Margit Gföhler‘s team created, the new prototype and it is not the first of its kind wheelchair to substitute a crank system for the traditional hand-rims on the wheels. However, it is unique in many ways by some features.
The chair was developed using a biomechanical computer model that analyzed various upper-body motion sequences. This resulted in a drive system that incorporates two armrest-mounted cranks. Turned by separate arms, each of those cranks is linked to the wheels via toothed belt-drives (stopping is handled by dual hand-lever-activated disc brakes).
This arrangement allows for continuous propulsion – as opposed to the series of pushes delivered to hand-rims – along with smaller-diameter wheels than those used on regular wheelchairs. The chair itself isn’t any wider than traditional models.
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