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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Wheelchair News

  • Wheelchairs coming to Xbox Avatars

    At last we've been recognised and wheelchairs are coming to an Xbox near you ! Phil Spencer who heads up Xbox has today confirmed that the games avatars will soon be available to place within digital wheelchairs in an attempt to provide yet more customisation for gamers.

    As we learned a few years ago a large proportion of young wheelchair users engage in gaming with some spending many hours a week pursuing their online gaming interests.

    As players like to base their Avatar on their own identity, Xbox is constantly looking for new ways to enable this self customisation. Avatars, which are cartoony looking digital characters are unique to each player and in theory resemble the players characteristics in reality, so why not wheelchairs ? its about time surely. This life-likeness allows gamers to express their real emotion alongside their gaming persona.

    So it has taken since 2008 for Microsoft to begin to cater for disabled gamers in the real sense. Its good to think that they are at least listening and are open to suggestions from disabled users in general and in this case wheelchair users.This is probably thanks to one user who used Twitter to start a petition, not long after Phil Spencer confirmed that just such an option is on its way real soon.

    With the new Xbox slim just around the corner in August it will be interesting to see if the wheelchair avatar modification is ready by then.

  • First ever automated wheelchair created by Hong Kong inventor

    Alan Lee Siu-lun has developed a breakthrough product in wheelchair assistance. The model has been in development in 2011, showing a big move forward from traditional stair-climbing wheelchairs.

    The new model boasts a control panel that can be replaced with a tablet, and a wide pedrail that can be adjusted for use outdoors and even at the beach. The automated wheelchair can also be elevated, allowing users to be at the same level as others when at the dinner table.

    Lee continues to develop the concept: in future the wheelchair should be able to track the health and fitness levels of users, and the wheelchair will also be able to notify doctors in emergency situations in order to provide necessary assistance.

    The automated wheelchair will first be available in November, starting with Italy as it makes its way into the global market.

    It will be interesting to see if this actualy takes on and becomes an accepted mode of wheelchair transport and if it actually improves the quality of life for wheelchaur users.

  • At last a wheelchair-friendly catwalk

    Wheelchair user Fashion student Laura Richter, 22, has just graduated with a first class honours from Huddersfield University.  Not only is this a great achievement, but Laura has attained such high results whilst battling with muscular dystrophy.  Because of how the condition has affected her life, Laura chose to combine disability with fashion, creating designs specifically targeted towards wheelchair users.

    The work was demanding for Laura; she explained that she had to be very strict with herself, "eating the right things and sleeping the right amount". Her university accommodated her needs further by creating a special low-level work table in the fashion department. Despite the challenges of her condition, Laura has shown that great perseverance and ambition can overcome disability.

    We wish her luck in all that she does.

  • Apple Watch evolves to improve the lives of wheelchair users

    Apple have upgraded their Apple Watch with a new feature specially designed for wheelchair users. Employees using chairs were invited last week to test the new wheelchair mode, which will be available on watchOS 3.

    In a process that has taken over a year to complete, Apple Watch becomes the first to offer a wheelchair fitness tracking feature. This revolutionary change enables activity customisation specific to wheelchair users: workouts have been created to boost fitness levels; all-day calorie goals now incorporate pushes; and the update has evolved to use more inclusive language such as "time to roll" instead of "time to stand".

    Apple are clearly dedicated to offering some of the best and most innovative accessibility features from smartphones to smart watches. This latest update ensures that wheelchair users are even further benefited in terms of accessibility, with big improvements to iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS.

  • Wheelchair-bound shooting victim becomes inspiration

    Tayloni Mazyck, 14, proved that her disability does not define her after giving an inspirational speech to her fellow graduate students at her middle school in New York City.

    At the age of 11, Tayloni became another victim of gun violence, and was subsequently paralysed after she received shots in the neck and face.

    Tayloni refused to become dormant in her condition and now chooses to look past the limitations of her paralysis: "I won today. Today I am a winner. My mishap does not define me, it does not limit me, it just helps the fighter in me stay alive."

    Her mother supports her in her endeavours, arguing that her wheelchair is "her only limitation". The family are still struggling against problems with transportation, citing accessibility issues with trains and elevators.

    Despite this, Tayloni continues to strive for her dreams of becoming a medical lawyer when she grows up, moving on to the High School for Law Advocacy and Community Justice.

    Both Tayloni's classmates and fellow family members have been inspired by her boldness and bravery, pushing them to grasp any opportunity regardless of any limitations.

  • John Smiths wheelchair is returned !

    John Smith has his wheelchair back at last. Para-athlete John Smith, who competes in the T54 classification, said the chair was taken from his van outside his house in Kent.

    John didn't hang about and turned to Facebook immediately to report the loss of his wheelchair and the knock-on effect was meaning that he would not be able to attend the the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

    The local constabulary was investigating the theft of the wheelchair from outside his home in West Kingsdown near Sevenoaks. "The wheelchair had been stored inside a locked van," the force said. "There was no reported damage to the van and enquiries into the theft are ongoing."

    If you want to read more or see a video of John in his wheelchair.

    It makes you wonder what goes on in anyones mind when they take an item like this. It's worthless to anyone else and cannot be used as a wheelchair by another as it is entirely bespoke to Johns measurements and needs. Now that the wheelchair has been returned John is back on track for the Rio visit and training is back to normal.

  • Vehicles for wheelchairs launched by Uber in London

    Uberwav as it has been named is a new service providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles to folk in London. Uberwav can be requested at the touch of a button using their app however this is only in affect in London to begin with.

    One refreshing fact for all wheelchair users is that the Uberwav service is available at the same cost as cheaper UberX fares. Their fleet of 55 wheelchair friendly vehicles in use already and the scheme is proving very popular indeed. On the back of this success other councils are considering granting Uber a license including Brighton who were quick off the mark.

    Many accessibility charities were involved in the new service's development so we hope that there has been consideration given to the real needs of wheelchair users and that the drivers are also trained on how to help.

    Transport for All, Scope and Whizz-Kidz are all supporting the launch of UberWav, and Uber states that it is investing over £1m in the first 18 months to establish the service.

    Uber spokesman Tom Elvidge said "We're proud to be making one of the biggest ever investments in accessible private hire in London and will be working hard to keep waiting times as low as possible as the service expands". The vehicles have been adapted and include a rear entry ramp including a winch and restraints and will allow the transport of the wheelchair user plus one additional passenger.

    Mr Elvidge also stated that he would expect a wait of "around 25 minutes" in Zones 1-2 and "40 minutes" in Zones 3-4 during the first few weeks of the new service.

    The new service was launched as Uber had experienced competition from London's black cabs that are already wheelchair friendly although less suitable to their bespoke converted vehicles. One consideration we should all make is to assess whether your chair is crash tested and there for safer to use in one of Ubers converted vehicles. If you are looking for a crash tested wheelchair please click here.

  • Dream tree house for wheelchair user Hayden

    Every child's dream is to have their own tree house but how do you make it happen if your child uses a wheelchair ? In the US the dream happened for 7 year old Hayden Trigg who was born with both spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

    However, with a little help from the Make A Wish foundation and a local building company who specialise in tree house construction Hayden was in luck and can now roam the home in his wheelchair!

    Using ramps and a 200 year old Oak tree in the back garden Hayden is now able to access his tree house using his wheelchair and celebrated its opening by inviting his entire class to see the new dream home.

    With a pitch roof and 2 floors, big windows and wheelchair friendly doorways this tree house has it all and suits Haydens play time no end. If you need wheelchair ramps then please take a look at out selection here.

  • Buggys make way for wheelchairs

    The ongoing case about wheelchair users rights on public transport buses has progressed further today. The case is being brought by a man from Wetherby, near Leeds in West Yorkshire. Mr Doug Paulley was denied use of the wheelchair space on a First Group bus because it was already occupied by a young mother with a sleeping baby in a buggy.

    The bus company in the spotlight is FirstGroup, who have a policy of requesting but not requiring able-bodied travelers to vacate the space for wheelchair users.

    The supreme court will soon rule whether wheelchair users get priority over mothers with baby buggies on buses after judges overruled the decision originally stating that it was not discriminatory and so will now go before the most senior judges in the land for a final hearing. The appeal judges rejected Mr Paulley's claim of unlawful discrimination.

    Last year Mr Paulley attempted to board a bus that displayed a sign saying: 'Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user.' However, under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, a judge at Leeds County Court ruled the policy was discriminatory and in breach of a duty .

    If you want a source of reliable information, please visit the Citizens Advice Web site here

  • Roma wheelchairs survive Invictus Games

    Prince Harry's Invictus Games prove to be a big success for all involved including wheelchair manufacturer Roma who are based in Bridgend in Wales.

    A total of 44 Roma wheelchairs were used during basketball and rugby matches at Prince Harry's Invictus Games and were surely tested to their limit surviving the most brutal of crashes and colisions.

    Innovative Roma Wheelchairs made in Wales

    Roma have been making wheelchairs for many many years and are one of the few manufacturers left in the UK. Their innovative design team have built a number of specialist sports wheelchairs at the request of the games' officials. Basketball and rugby demand models that will withstand the harshest of use so the team put their heads fown and came up with these models in the 6 week timeframe as requested.

    Once built the games commenced and the technicians who designed and built the chairs travvelled across the atlantic to be pitchside during the games in case of any technical emergencies.

    Orlando hosted the first Invictus Games which is an international sporting event, dreamed up by Prince Harry, for wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women. For manufacturer Roma it was an exciting opportunity to create brand new sports wheelchairs knowing that they will ehlp the games and its competitors.

    Simon Dalton, managing director of Roma Sport, said: “We were at the side of the pitch all the time.Due to the nature of the game we had to be ready to run onto the pitch if any tyres got punctured, for example.We also had to make sure the athletes were in the right chair for them".

    “Some had a spinal injury and so we had to put in extra strapping. “We made sure they were all comfortable with their chairs and given the right ones for them.”

    Like the BMW designed wheelchair, Roma too have the technology for making body wrapping seats however the wheelchairs for the Invicta games were to be used by a number of different athletes preventing the use of bespoke seats. They have worked with many different materials, all loightweight and strong, including titanium, aluminium, and testing the possible use of magnesium - the ultimate lightweight metal.

    Roma sports wheelchairs for basket ball and Rugby

    Simon added: “The rugby wheelchairs had to be very robust because they take such a hammering. They are involved in crashes and collisions which is all part of the game.

    “As basketball is more of a non-contact sport the chair needs more agility and has to have a lighter frame.We didn’t have to do any repairs to our chairs during the matches.“When you see some of the hits and crashes you wonder what will happen but we were very pleased with the chairs and they stood up to the job".

    “The games are so inspiring to see and it’s great that they have this opportunity.“We feel honoured to have been asked to be part of this and being there was a fantastic experience.”

    We're proud to supply Roma chairs and even better that they are made within the UK! See our Roma wheelchair range here


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