The world of complex rehab equipment is continually evolving, providing new and improved options for wheelchair users. Here is a look at some of the mobility innovations that have been introduced this year.
Phase 2 Hybrid Suspension Forks
by Frog Legs
The Phase 2 Hybrid Forks take Frog Legs’ patented suspension forks to a new level. They combine a newly designed aluminum top with a high-strength, lightweight carbon fiber swing arm that is curved to create optimal shock and vibration absorption. The result is quicker response to bumps and a smoother ride.
For suspension action, the Phase 2 Hybrid uses a wedge polymer to give the shock a significantly faster response than a standard round polymer. Plus, the wedge shape creates a progressive response — it becomes stiffer as more force, such as from cracks and bumps, is put on it. This prevents bottoming out and creates a smoother ride for the wheelchair user, which then reduces fatigue, spasticity and pain. It also makes it easier to roll over small obstacles like curb cuts, sidewalk cracks and door thresholds.
The Phase 2 Hybrid works for users up to 260 pounds, and with 3, 4, 5 and 6-inch diameter casters.
by Ki Mobility
The Ethos reduces the vibrations often associated with rigid high-performance chairs by using a patent-pending system called Intelligent Isolation Technology. ISO Tech consists of a rigid lower frame and a separate, fully-adjustable rigid upper frame joined by four ISO Tech polymers that absorb vibration, resulting in a significantly smoother ride. The ISO Tech Polymers come in different densities and are interchangeable to enable you to customize your ride from soft to firm.
The Ethos also features independently-adjustable caster positioning, meaning you can move your casters back or forward for optimized rider balance that take into consideration changes in your body, ability or wheeling environment.
The Ethos transport weight — weight of the chair without rear wheels when lifting in and out of a car — is 11.6 pounds. It is available in widths from 12 to 20 inches and can hold up to 275 pounds.
SoftWheels add rear suspension to a manual wheelchair via three shock-absorbers/spokes attached between a rigid rim and an offset hub. This shock/hub combination provides vertical suspension yet retains lateral stiffness. That translates to the wheels rolling straight, yet absorbing the daily grind of bumps, cracks and curbs, thus reducing back pain, spasticity and fatigue.
SoftWheel 3.0 features a clean new look, lower profile rims than earlier versions, improvements to the shock absorbers to make the suspension silent and reduced weight. Aluminum and carbon fiber versions are both available in 24 and 25-inch sizes. Also, the 3.0 Aluminum weighs 4.12 pounds per wheel and the Carbon weighs 3.5 pounds. In addition to lighter weight, the 3.0 Carbon rim has the coolness factor of slick-looking carbon fiber.
F-SERIES Power Chairs
Permobil has relaunched new, improved versions of its F3 Corpus and F5 Corpus front-wheel drive power chairs. Both models incorporate a new design that features dual LED headlights for wheeling at night, and a variety of frame and accent color options. They also come with Permobil Connect, which informs the user of chair and seating status, allows access to a virtual seating coach and enables a technician to remotely access the chair to diagnose potential fault codes and/or information on the chair’s condition. Both chairs feature “ComfortRide,” a fully independent, adjustable suspension on a compact power base that boasts top speeds of 6 mph for the F3 and 7.5 mph for the F5.
The F-SERIES chairs are paired with the Corpus Seating system, which features new, dual-density backrest foam for better pressure distribution and Stretch-Air covers for extra breathability and moisture resistance. The seating system includes tilt, recline and ActiveHeight — the F3 raises 12 inches, and the F5 raises 14 inches. It also has ActiveReach, which provides forward tilt to enable 4 to 5 inches of additional reach when needed, such as for objects on grocery shelves, and also helps make for easier transfers.
Ride Custom AccuSoft Cushion and Back
by Ride Designs
Ride Designs is known for cushions that help protect skin and optimize posture and mobility via a unique system of off-loading — keeping weight off bony areas and transferring it to areas of the body that can handle contact. However, some users feel its traditional cushions are too firm.
Ride has responded with the Custom AccuSoft Cushion and Custom Back. The cushions offer the same custom fit, off-loading and postural support as the classic Ride Custom, but in two versions made with softer-density foam. As the names suggest the “Soft” version is softer than the standard Ride Custom, and “Extra Soft” is even softer.
Like the Ride Custom, the Custom AccuSoft cushions and Custom AccuSoft backs are designed using RideWorks. Its “Shape Capture and Submission Method” means the user sits on a custom bean bag and vacuum, and their shape — how they use a cushion, and/or cushion and back — is scanned and sent to Ride Designs for a fast turnaround. The cushion comes with an inner incontinent-proof cover, and an outer, porous breathable cover.
For users who want extra softness in a back rest, the Ride Custom Back is available with an optional soft, open-cell polyurethane foam insert and choice of breathable fabric cover or wipeable incontinence-proof cover.
Note: Ride suggests that users needing maximum skin protection and stability should still consider the Ride Custom 2 Cushion.
Quickie Q500 M SEDEO PRO
by Sunrise Medical
The Q500 M SEDEO PRO is a power wheelchair that combines a high-performance base with a highly-customizable seating system and a wide variety of innovative controls.
The Q500 M is a mid-wheel drive power base that has suspension on all six wheels to provide a smooth and stable ride over uneven terrain. With a top speed of 6 mph, range of 14 miles, and ability to ascend 7-degree grades, the Q500 M is ready to go the distance, while its turning radius of 25 inches provides precise access and control in narrow indoor areas.
The Q500 M is paired with SEDEO PRO, Quickie’s new highly-customizable seating system. Options include tilt, recline and elevate. The system is compatible with a broad range of JAY cushions and backs, as well as WHITMYER headrests, and designed so that many adjustments can be made with just one tool.
The chair is compatible with a wide array of controllers but comes with the R-net Advanced Joystick. This joystick has infrared, Bluetooth-assignable buttons that enable quick access to functions without having to use the joystick.
The Q500 M offers six interchangeable inlaid accent colors that are interchangeable, allowing users to swap out colors to go with the chair’s matte black body.