When walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, accident, problems associated with old age, or disability, a wheelchair is a chair with wheels used for transportation. Paraplegia is a disorder that may occur from a spinal cord injury and is characterised by paralysis on one side of the body. In addition, cerebral palsy, brain damage, osteogenesis imperfecta, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and other diseases may arise from spinal cord injury.
There are many wheelchair designs available to meet the varied needs of its users. For example, people with physical impairments may have wheelchairs specifically built for their requirements, which may include various seating modifications and tailored controls for certain activities, such as wheelchairs for sports and beach wheelchairs. However, the most notable difference is between manual wheelchairs, wheelchair users or attendants push, and motorised wheelchairs, propelled by batteries and electric motors.
Wheelchairs differ in terms of propulsion, controls, and technology. Some wheelchairs are designed for everyday use, some for specific activities, and yet others to function as assistive equipment for people with special accessibility needs.
Manual self-propelled wheelchairs
Its weight often propels a manual wheelchair. It is made up of a frame, a seat, and footrests (or footplates). Finally, it may have two caster wheels (or “rolling wheels”) in front and two large wheels (or “braking wheels”) in the back. In addition, each seat will have its seat cushion. Users may move the chair with a, but without grabbing the tyre, thanks to push-rims placed just beyond the rear tyre. Manual wheelchair brakes serve mainly as a parking brake, with in-motion stopping handled by the operator holding the push-rims. Because friction and heat accumulation will be particularly troublesome on longer downslopes, many wheelchair users will choose to wear cushioned wheelchair gloves. Some wheelchairs include two push handles at the top of the frame, allowing a second person to steer by utilising the handles. Some active wheelchair users, however, remove these handles entirely to prevent needless pushing by well-meaning volunteers.
Manual attendant-propelled wheelchairs
Although self-propelled manual wheelchairs vary from attendant-propelled wheelchairs, they have a small minor wheel at both the front and rear. To move the chair, you must stand at the back and push the integrated handles in the frame. For parking braking, the attendant is fitted with a foot- or hand-operated parking brake.
While the standard definition of a power chair is an electric-powered wheelchair, the term “powerchair” is frequently used in popular culture to describe any type of motorised wheelchair that also includes batteries and motors integrated into the frame, and that is controlled by the user or an attendant, with the joystick on the armrest or the upper rear of the frame being the most common locator. Other than joysticks, other control devices enable autonomous wheelchair operation, such as head switches, chin-operated joysticks, and sip-and-puff controllers, which allow for more users with different motor impairments. The majority of conventional batteries have ranges that surpass 10 miles/15 kilometres.
Single-arm drive wheelchairs
A manual wheelchair with a single-arm drive enables the user to manoeuvre the wheelchair by moving just one arm. On the same side as the arm to be used, a bigger wheel with two concentric hand rims is placed. Most wheels connect to the opposite side of the wheel through an inner concentric axle (also known as a spiral axle). When both hand rims are held simultaneously, they may move the chair forward or backwards in a straight line. When the handrims are controlled independently, just one wheel is used. Depending on whether handrim is used, the chair will subsequently turn left or right. Certain wheelchairs designed for hemiplegics have both wheels securely connected. In addition, one of the footplates used to control steering through a connection to the front caster makes it simpler for people with just one leg to operate a wheelchair.
Reclining and tilting wheelchairs
Reclining and tilt-in-space wheelchairs are two standard configurations. Hugh Barclay came up with the original concept, which was intended to assist children with postural issues, such as scoliosis, by resting in a tilted position in their wheelchair. However, users who cannot sit upright for extended amounts of time due to pain or other factors may benefit from the feature.
Standing wheelchairs enable the user to stand nearly erect. The user may utilise both a wheelchair and a standing frame to select whether to sit or stand in the wheelchair. Some are entirely manual, with the chair’s stand being controlled only by hand, while others incorporate a stand with various degrees of power, tilt, recline, and even motorised functions. A device that provides the benefits mentioned earlier will help with independence, productivity, self-esteem, social status, ease of movement, fewer pressure sores, better respiration, decreased occurrence of UTIs, increased bone density, reduced abnormal muscle tone and Spasticity, And skeletal deformities. Other wheelchairs provide the same help in raising the whole seat to bring the user to a standing posture.
Disabled athletes who cannot use their legs or arms have developed a range of sports such as basketball, rugby, tennis, racing, and dancing. Most wheelchairs are no longer the same as they once were; they have evolved to fit each activity better. They are usually non-folding (to increase rigidity) and made of lightweight composite materials. Racing wheelchairs are used in a kneeling position whether or not they are seated in a designated seat. One of the distinguishing features of sports wheelchairs is that they are seldom intended to be used as everyday chairs. Instead, they are second seats that are often exclusively utilised for sports. Sports are acceptable for many amputees, but they are not appropriate for everyday activities.
A smart wheelchair is any powerchair that uses a control system to supplement or replace human control. The device’s main goal is to assist users by reducing or even eliminating the strain of controlling a motorised wheelchair. An intelligent wheelchair is often influenced by a computer and includes various sensors and mobile robotics techniques, but this is not necessarily necessary. The most frequently used sensors for smart wheelchairs are ultrasonic sound range finders (i.e. sonar), and infrared red (IR) range finders. The interface may be a conventional wheelchair joystick, a “sip-and-puff” device, or a touch-sensitive display. A conventional power chair relies on human control to change the speed and direction of the user’s movement, with no assistance from the wheelchair’s control system.