The manual standing wheelchair
Today’s post might not be about an art piece, but is about an innovative healthcare design-piece: the Manual Standing Wheelchair developed by The Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Hospital.
The prototype of the wheelchair that was developed is not the first standing wheelchair, but it has significant advances over previous designs. The Minneapolis VA has revamped the traditional standing wheelchair to help increase paralyzed Veterans functional capacities in everyday life.
But what is it that makes this wheelchair so innovative? Dr. Gary Goldish and a team of biomedical engineers modified an existing standing wheelchair and with the input of veterans, design changes were made. A drive wheel was added that allows the push rim to rise so patients can reach it when they stand. The design keeps the chair’s four wheels on the ground at all times, providing more stability and much more maneuverability.
Dr. Goldish on the wheelchairs design: “We want to make the movement as natural, as similar to wheeling in a seated position as possible. The tire is on the ground each time, but it’s just transferring the load between the front and back faster. And that’s what makes it stable and mobile.”
The prototype is still to be advanced more before it will be ready for marketing.
Want to find out more about the Manual Standing Wheelchair? Visit the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Facebook page, where you can also find a video of the wheelchair in action.