Monday, November 8, 2010

More Interesting Wheelchairs

Apparently, I’ve started a funky wheelchair theme here on the blog. Last week I shed some light on the new Mobi-Chair, which is a floatable beach wheelchair. Just today I came across two more interesting ones that I wanted to share. First, is the LSA Helium, which is a stand-up manual wheelchair. I’ve seen handfuls of stand-up power wheelchairs over the years but never a stand-up manual chair. So in that regard the LSA Helium really stands out to me, pun intended.


The second wheelchair is the IRV 2000 by Trac About, Inc., which is a belt track driven chair. Thus it looks like a mini wheelchair-like tank that can easily roll over snow, sand, mud, etc. without getting its wheels stuck in ruts like standard wheelchairs would. Pretty fascinating chair. If you visit the site linked just above check out the photo album and online videos.


Of course, the championship belt of funky wheelchairs still resides with the Tank Chair. Talk about screw-you-I’ll-go-wherever-I-want-to wheelchair badassery. Apparently, the chair’s inventor created it for his wife who is paralyzed.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Floating Beach Wheelchair

As fall is in full swing here in Minneapolis summer is suddenly becoming a fading memory again. Nonetheless, I came across an intriguing accessible beach product worth sharing for those who live in warmer climates, or those already planning ahead to summer 2011: the Mobi-Chair, which is a floatable beach wheelchair. As you can see from the pictures it’s a pretty wild looking concept. Three big flat yellow wheels that can roll easily over the sand without getting caught in ruts, armrests made of those orange rescue tubes that the lifeguards on “Baywatch” used to run around the beach with (often in slow motion), and a striped seat and backrest design reminiscent of a circus tent. The whole chair is designed to allow people with mobility issues to hit the big waves at the beach, or even the smaller ones at the pool.

As much as I miss swimming, and I haven’t been on a beach of any form since the day of my diving accident over fourteen years, my quick take is that I’m not sure this chair would be the ticket for me. The most obvious hindrance from my perspective is how hard it would be to get in and out of the chair. The low to the ground seating profile means that a level seat to seat chair transfer is out. And even if they were at an even level the wide, bulbous armrests would get in the way. Therefore, the only way for someone like me to use the chair would be to have a team of folks lift me in and out. It also looks like there might not be enough back, seat, or lateral support that would make for comfortable sitting for more than a short while.

But that’s just my take. Clearly, a chair like this opens countless doors for others who are very rarely out of their wheelchairs or other mobility devices, let alone able to go for a swim. To wit, this video clip features a sampling of folks with disabilities who are pretty thrilled to be able to get out into the water. Surf’s up dudes!