Vibration reducing loopwheels

Innovations in Wheelchair Vibration Dampening

Fri Apr 15 2022

When walking, a large percentage of the ground reaction force or vibration is lost or absorbed before it can be transmitted beyond the thighs. When using a wheelchair, being in a seated position to move can mean increased vibration through the legs and upper body, and often for a prolonged period of time.

RESNA describes wheelchair users as “particularly at risk from whole body vibration”. From a health professional and biomechanical perspective, it is ideal for vibration to be redirected at the earliest stage possible.

Consequences of over exposure to vibration on the body

Increased exposure to whole body vibration has been shown to induce or exaggerate back pain, neck pain, fatigue, spasticity, and pressure injuries. The consequences of these for daily life as a wheelchair user are a serious issue.

Vibration dampening solutions in wheelchairs and mobility devices

Previously, the mobility industry has looked to reduce vibration that reaches a wheelchair user’s body with cushions or in the material of the chair. Often, there is a favouring towards titanium and carbon over aluminium frames. As healthcare equipment becomes more sophisticated, solutions have come to market that redirect vibration earlier in transmission which results in reduced end transmission to the wheelchair user.

Progeo Noir 2.0

Carbon Wheelchair
The Noir 2.0 is the pinnacle of carbon wheelchair technology and is the only carbon framed wheelchair on the market strong enough to be used with powered attachments.

Quickie Krypton F

Carbon Wheelchair
With X-Braid carbon-weaving technology, the Krypton F has an unrivalled strength to weight ratio, and a stiffness that gives an ultra-responsive ride.

TiLite TRA

Titanium Wheelchair
The TRA is TiLite's flagship wheelchair, offering maximum rigidity with no compromise on transportability. The titanium frame offers a 44% strength advantage.

TiLite ZRA

Titanium Wheelchair
The ZRA is TiLite's best selling wheelchair - a high-performing model with full adjustability, and a mono-tube frame design. Its titanium frame provides a smooth ride.

Ki Mobility's Ethos wheelchair with two part frame

Ki Mobility released an active chair called the Ethos which has an interesting two-part frame that shows substantial reduction in vibration transmission to the occupant. The top part of the frame is in contact with the wheelchair user (backrest, seat, footplate) and the subframe houses the propulsion and caster wheels. The design of most active chairs links the casters to the footplates resulting in undesirable vibration transmission. Isolating the top frame means there is no transmission directly up through the feet and legs. This design also allows for the inclusion of shock absorbers at the connection between the top frame and subframe.

Ki Mobility Ethos wheelchair

Vibration reducing Loopwheels for wheelchairs

Another noteworthy innovation in this area is the Loopwheel. Loopwheels chose to move away from the traditional central axle with spokes, instead crafting a trio of carbon loops with a moving hub that houses the axle pin. The elliptical carbon loops work in unison with the “floating” hub, allowing the wheels to act as springs and resulting in significantly reduced vibration transmission to the wheelchair user.


Measurable benefits of vibration dampening

Reducing vibration transmission is not just about short-term benefits such as reducing pain and fatigue. Technology now allows us to record real time numerical data so we can observe the true impact of improved designs. There is real potential for measurable long-term benefit in protection of both skin and muscle integrity.

Join Wheelfreedom's accredited CPD course for health care professionals

At Wheelfreedom, our accredited CPD course provides Occupational Therapists and other interested healthcare professionals a chance to learn about exciting new developments across the mobility and seating industry. It’s a great opportunity to get hands on with a diverse range of equipment whilst receiving expert and impartial advice from our specialist team.

Speak with a wheelchair specialist

Whether you are a wheelchair user interested in the latest mobility solutions or a health care professional seeking new ways to support your clients, get in touch with a wheelchair specialist today. With a broad range of solutions for you to try at our flagship showroom, our team of specialists are on hand to help you.

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