When the wheelchair was first invented for King Phillip II of Spain in 1595, it was merely intended to be a mode of transportation; to help disabled individuals move from one point to another. Today, however, the role of the wheelchair has changed to keep up with the progress of society and the integration and individuality of disabled individuals. The modern electric wheelchair dates back to the 20th century and lighter wheelchairs with improved performance made their appearance over the last decade or so.
Growing Trend of Customized Electric Wheelchairs
Customized electric wheelchairs are now an interesting trend with special designs requested to suit the taste and need of the disabled individual.
Personalized and customized electric wheelchairs are now the chosen method of expressing individual image and style. The wheelchairs can be painted with special designs or colors, lighted casters, made-to-order upholstery, leather frame covers, spoke guards and spinners with unique patterns, and a whole set of options to accessorize.
Browse Market Research Report of Electric Wheelchair Market:
Customized electric wheelchairs are also being designed to accommodate special needs of the users. These include wheelchairs modified to attach a child seat in front, extra short or long wheelchairs for very short or tall users, specialized reinforced wheelchairs for users with minimal motor functions or control, and wheelchairs for dancers, athletes, and sportspersons.
Innovations in Electric Powered Wheelchairs Reshaping Mobility Market
Two years ago, a tongue piercing gadget to drive wheelchairs was known to be a more viable alternative to the sip-and-puff control system for users with restricted movements and those paralyzed from the neck down. Both these innovative methods reflect the ever-evolving nature of the field of assistive technology.
In the sip-and-puff control motorized wheelchair, the user had four different inputs to maintain control of the wheelchair by blowing into the straw or tube. A hard sip at the start enabled the wheelchair to move backward, followed by a hard puff that would stop the wheelchair. In contrast, a hard puff at the start enabled the wheelchair to move ahead, while the wheelchair stopped with a hard sip. Continuous soft puff or sip enabled the wheelchair to move right or left respectively.
The Tongue Drive System was developed by a team of researchers from Chicago and Atlanta. The system uses wireless technology to relay messages from the stud piercing – which acts like a joystick – to the wheelchair. The powerful and intuitive gadget was designed for people who have very limited ability to control an electric wheelchair.
Other innovative technologies developed to control electric wheelchairs include head control, where switches are mounted in the headrest and are activated by head movements; chin control, that controls the wheelchair with a chip-mounted joystick and neck extension, flexion, and rotation; and speech control, a wheelchair with built-in speech recognition system that is designed for patients with higher level spinal injury.
Browse Press Release of Electric Wheelchair Market:
Advances in assistive technology have made it much easier for disabled individuals to feel like a part of the society and still enjoy a sense of independence. The electric wheelchair market is already a billion-dollar market and, according to Transparency Market Research, is likely to grow at a strong CAGR of 19.2% from 2014 to 2020.