Monday, April 30, 2012

Wheelchairs from China and Carbon Black from Britian

China holds the proud honor of recording the first use of a wheelchair. Stone slate inscriptions are dated to 600 B.C. Thereafter, the German Renaissance uplifted the scientific progression of the wheelchair to European countries. German travels to Italy heralded the advances of the German Renaissance in the 15th and 16th Centuries. James Heath of Bath, England invented the Bath Chair which was mainly for invalids and could be pulled by a horse or donkey. During the mid-18th Century, James Heath created this bath chair with a folding hood to protect the inhabitant from the elements. The first entrepreneurs to produce wheelchairs were friends and mechanical engineers Harry Jennings and Herbert Everest. In 1933, Mr. Everest was disabled from a mining accident and their "x-brace" design is still used today.

Basic categories of wheelchairs include: manual, electric, sports, transfer, mechanical, stretcher, and all-terrain. The all-terrain wheelchairs allow entry into the water, as well as transport on sand and irregular surfaces. In England, all-terrain wheelchairs are available free of charge in many beaches that are wheelchair accessible. Other varieties of wheelchairs include standing, mobility, bariatric, pediatric, knee, and power-assisted. There are sports wheelchairs made for the sports: basketball, tennis, rugby, and racing. Power soccer is now the only competitive sport for powersport teams.

Paris, France is the homeland of the governance of this Powerchair Football, with The Federation Internationale de Powerchair Football Association (FIPFA) having world-wide affiliated branches. Michael Platini is featured as the Guest of Honor for the World Cup Draw. Powerchair Football Associations have recently sprung up in Canada and Switzerland. Brazil was the first South American member of FIPFA. Senior Football Associations meet up and cast rival games, with England players meeting the World Football Association National Team in Wembley. Competition and more competition continue!

These days, one can not mention wheelchairs without mentioning Accessible Tourism. Coined by Darse and Dickson in 2009, it is an ongoing endeavor to bring tourism to those with physical limitations or disabilities. This includes but is not limited to people with children, those in wheelchairs, and the elderly. Accessible Tourism is a movement in and of itself, with many publications catering to the needs of those who travel by wheelchair.

The iBOT halted production in 2009, at $25,000.00 US. It used gyroscope technology so the user could balance on 2 wheels, and the user appeared to be standing. Special features included the ability to climb stairs and utilize 4-wheel drive. It gave way to the Segway Personal Transporter, specifically market for mass production and mainline affordability.

Recent features include the handcycle, and stationary trainer platforms allowing one to exercise as if one is on a treadmill. The omnidirectional treadmill, or ODT, allows one to move in any direction. Using virtual reality environment and a wheelchair trainer at the Department of Veteran's Affairs, researchers continue to study and promote exercise as a therapy.

In 2011, the Carbon Black wheelchair was developed by Britian's Andrew Slorance. Making its debut in utilizing F1 Technology, Carbon Black was presented at Naidex South in London. This is the first wheelchair almost wholly made of carbon fiber. Supported by funding from Devices for Dignity (D4D), it is said to revolutionize the industry. Less wheelchair and more you.


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