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An intelligent wheelchair wheel lock

Still on the theme of wheelchair safety, we look at the most common cause of accident to wheelchair users which occurs during transfers all too often as a result of the wheelchair sliding away as the user stands and pushes down on the arm pads. This type of accident generally occurs with elderly users and more often than not it is due to them failing to apply the wheelchair brakes before attempting to stand. When a wheelchair user has help from a carer then it is less likely to happen as someone is on hand to ensure that the wheelchair brake is applied and also to assist with the whole standing process.

In order to overcome this type of wheelchair associated accident, a US company has come up with an idea that makes total sense and if deployed will prevent the injuries that can occur as a result.

Dr Grady Dugas from LA has come up with a solution that automatically engages wheelchair brakes as soon as the wheelchair occupant starts to get up. It doesn’t use the normal lever operated brakes but some more effective wheelchair brakes that operate within the wheel hub.

The patented invention works by recognising when the wheelchair users weight is lifted from the seat. At this point, sprung levers rise and cause a series of gear blocks to contact with teeth in the rear wheel hubs. The teeth on the blocks then mesh with the hubs to prevent the rear wheels from turning and the wheelchair from going anywhere.

This clever design doesn’t affect the folding of the wheelchair nor any other aspect of its operation. In addition, handle-mounted overrides can be used to disengage the locks in order to allow attendants to roll the empty chair.

Much thought has gone in to this wheelchair safety accessory and some fairly high tech materials have been used to ensure that the finished production item is both safe and functional and will provide benefit to a wheelchair user in a reliable fashion. Dr Dugas comments "The technical support proved very helpful in the development process. All in all, Zytel allowed us to engineer a lock that provides outstanding durability, good looks, and low maintenance, while adding little weight to the wheelchair."

If you are interested in reading more about this wheelchair wheel lock then please click here