Innovation may make manual wheelchairs easier to operate

Innovation may make manual wheelchairs easier to operate

Spinal cord injuries that lead to quadriplegia or paraplegia can have a devastating effect on the injured person's mobility and independence. Using a wheelchair can be more difficult than people with full mobility realize. For some patients with severe paralysis, pushing the wheels on traditional wheelchairs can be impossible.

One man is trying to change that. The man received a spinal cord injury to his neck in a bicycle accident more than 25 years ago. He has partial quadriplegia and cannot push the wheels on a standard chair. He decided to create a new way to use wheelchairs.

The man worked with engineers to create the Wijit, which uses levers to push the wheels and can be easier than pushing the wheels by hand. It can be fitted over push wheelchairs. He says the product is simple to use and can deliver more force than a regular wheelchair.

The development of the product has had challenges. More than a decade ago, his fledgling product became irrelevant when wheelchair construction changed. As a result, he created a new design and has sold several hundred designs.

Spinal cord injuries are difficult to deal with, but new medical technology and innovations can give people more independence. Some wheelchairs can climb stairs and even elevate a person to reach high places without help. Other electronic aids may be available to assist with daily tasks, and in some cases, technology and medical treatments have advanced to allow people to regain some movement through electrical stimulation devices or a technology called robotic gait training.

Sources: ABC News 10, "Inventures: Levers bring new force to wheelchair users," Siemny Chhuon, May 31, 2013; Mayo Clinic, Spinal cord injury, Oct. 22, 2011

  • Our law firm represents people in the Los Angeles area who have received spinal cord injuries as the result of others' negligence. For more information, visit our spinal cord injuries page.


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