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Advancements in Power Add-on Technology for Wheelchairs: Bridging the Accessibility Gap

Fri Aug 18 2023

Living an engaged and active life is a basic essential when it comes to quality of life, and many studies continue to highlight the positive impact of spending time outdoors on overall health and well-being. However, for those facing mobility challenges, accessing these benefits can often be a daunting task. This is where advancements in power add-on technology for wheelchairs step in, revolutionising the way individuals with mobility issues experience the world around them.

Enhancing Accessibility and Flexibility

For manual wheelchair users, navigating uneven terrain can be a considerable challenge. While powered wheelchairs offer enhanced outdoor performance, they may not always align with an individual's lifestyle. The heavier wheelbases of powered chairs can hinder transport in unmodified vehicles, limiting mobility further. In response, powered add-on technology has emerged as a dynamic solution within the realm of mobility equipment.

Powered add-ons serve as a bridge, enabling users to harness the benefits of their lightweight and compact manual wheelchairs while seamlessly transitioning to powered assistance when necessary. These ingenious devices can be attached to the front, back, or even integrated within the drive wheels themselves. They offer a transformative advantage when encountering troublesome terrains, such as gravel paths or grassy areas.

Unleashing the Potential of Powered Add-ons

Front-mounted powered add-ons ingeniously raise the caster wheels off the ground and incorporate a larger motorised front wheel. This design prevents sinking into soft ground or getting caught in rough surfaces. The integrated motors effortlessly assist in tackling steep inclines and navigating challenging terrains, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable outdoor experience.

Empowering Musculoskeletal Health

Among the wheelchair community, musculoskeletal difficulties are not uncommon, particularly among manual wheelchair users. These individuals face an elevated risk of rotator cuff and wrist injuries, often leading them to limit their daily activities to preserve energy and prevent injury. The emergence of motorised wheels, such as the WheelDrives or E-Motion Duo, has brought a transformational shift.

These innovative motorised wheels replace standard drive wheels and offer powered assistance with each push. Equipped with embedded sensors under the push rim, they introduce a form of cruise control, enabling occupants to cover impressive distances without the need for a full circular push. With battery ranges starting from 10 miles, users can confidently embrace outdoor activities without the fear of pushing fatigue.

Customised Solutions for Diverse Needs

For individuals with reduced hand dexterity, Rehasense's Power Assisted Wheelchair System (PAWS) handbike and Blumill handbike offer a seamless solution. These innovative devices automatically connect to the wheelbase with the simple push of a button. Alternatively, joystick-controlled options like the Benoit Light Drive or E-Fix provide a user-friendly interface for those seeking precise control over their mobility.

Transforming Lives and Redefining Independence

A 2020 study highlighted the remarkable impact of powered add-on devices on daily activity and social engagement. Users reported increased confidence in their chairs' performance, leading to higher levels of participation in hobbies and activities. These powered add-ons are not just accessories; they are catalysts for empowerment, enabling individuals to reclaim their independence and elevate their quality of life.

The Future of Mobility

Advancements in power add-on technology are ushering in a new era of independence and inclusivity. These innovative solutions are not merely addressing physical barriers; they are breaking down emotional and psychological boundaries, allowing individuals to embrace life's full spectrum. As these technologies continue to evolve, the accessibility gap is shrinking, and a brighter, more inclusive future for all is on the horizon. 

Further Information

If you or a loved one are living with reduced mobility and wish to find out more about the mobility products and seating assessments we offer, get in touch with us to speak to a specialist.

Staying in the same position for a long period of time can lead to pressure ulcers and it is important you get the right equipment. 

At Wheelfreedom, we are trusted, knowledgeable, impartial, dependable and progressive. With thousands of 5 star reviews, feel reassured that you will receive a service that is tailored to your individual needs. 

To get the most out of your visit to our Chessington showroom, we strongly recommend that you call us on 0800 025 8005 to book an appointment. This ensures that one of our product specialists is on-hand to advise you, and that you have the space to browse and try products at your leisure.

Our team are also on hand at the end of the phone to answer any questions you may have, whether it be about our products or service, or you can send us a message at your own convenience.

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