Wheelchairs are a type of medical device that is used to improve accessibility for people who are mobility challenged. In some form or another, wheelchairs have been used for many thousands of years, but it would not be until the beginning of the twentieth century that a standard wheelchair design would be developed. Today, there are a number of different wheelchair designs and models available, but they are basically classified as either manual or electric. This is an example of a conventional wheelchair.
Note the size of the wheels on this transport wheelchair.
Manual wheelchairs are the oldest type of wheelchair available and are either classified as self propelled or attendant propelled. One of the first self propelled wheelchairs was developed by a blacksmith over 300 years ago and used a hand crank to move the wheelchair. Today, there are a number of different types of self propelled manual wheelchairs, which are classified by their uses, but the most common type of manual wheelchair is the conventional wheelchair. A conventional wheelchair has handrims which are attached to the outside of the rear wheels, which allow the user to turn the rear wheels. The rear wheels are much larger than the front wheels and are typically 24 inches in diameter. The Conventional wheelchair usually offers a folding design, so it can be easily transported, and has a steel steel tubed frame. However, to reduce weight aluminum and titanium frames are also used. The seat is typically made of vinyl, which is easy to clean. Attendant propelled wheelchairs, or transport chairs, often look very similar to a self propelled wheelchair, however they do not have handrims on the rear wheels. Instead they are designed to be pushed by someone walking behind the wheelchair. Often the rear wheels will be much smaller than traditional wheelchairs. This is an example of a Power Chair.
This portable power chair looks much like a manual wheelchair. Electric Wheelchairs...
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