About Ned Fielden

As a restless small-town New England boy, Ned Fielden bicycled west as soon as his undergraduate thesis at Hampshire College was finished. Thirteen years later his bicycling days ended when a hit-and-run accident with a truck paralyzed him from the waist down. Now a tenured librarian at San Francisco State University, he has given academic papers internationally on library history. He is also father to four — two “grown and gone,” one at university. He lives with his wife, “a wonderful and enduringly patient woman,” in Berkeley, Calif., along with their teenager and three cats.

August 2017

May 2015

November 2013

Things I’d Like to See: 7 Outrageous Inventions for Wheelchair Users

By | 2017-01-13T20:42:52+00:00 November 1st, 2013|

Some of these inventions for wheelchair users undoubtedly already exist, but I guarantee that some of them don’t (generally because they are outlandish or endearingly impractical), but each of them puts a spotlight on one of the small but troublesome dilemmas that plague my particular corner of the disability universe. I am guessing I am not completely alone. And the more small problems that get solved cheaply, easily and practically, the more time we disabled folk have left over for higher level functions.

The Wheelchair Front-Plow

A wide, V-shaped flexible plow that easily attaches to the front of your chair, like a snowplow but for light-duty use. Made of stiffened rubber or some durable, flexible but strong plastic, it would hug the ground and push all manner of objects in your path out of the way. It would have to be wide enough to direct items beyond the reach of your back wheels so you don’t crunch them on your way through. All those years of navigating a living room strewn with Lego pieces after the kids went to bed would have been a lot easier with this implement. A corollary design might have brushes, allowing you to sweep the floor like those drivable lawnmowers handle a field, and you would just make a long, systematic pass through your house to clean up.

The Back Hook Implant

May 2009