It has recently been reported, first in The Telegraph and latterly more widely, that engineer, Kevin Halsall, has invented a wheelchair for his best friend Marcus Thompson who was left paraplegic after a skiing accident. Kevin wanted to design a wheelchair for those with an active lifestyle. Mr Halsall has rebuilt a Segway into a hands free electric wheelchair which allows the user to travel off road, play sport and perform other tasks such as mowing the lawn. Users simply need to use their core muscles to balance and lean in the direction of travel in order to steer it. Occupational therapists say this is a key benefit of the chair.
A wheelchair will, for most people, be their main aide. This design (a finalist in the National Innovators Awards) is in the process of being commercialised. It is considered suitable for anyone with abdominal control, or can be used by those without such control by holding on to its sides. The price is yet to be fixed but Mr Halsall says he wants to keep it as low as he can to "make it affordable to people that need it", He says "The most rewarding part is seeing people’s reactions and the difference it can make in people’s lives."
Such innovation and philanthropy is welcome particularly by those whose day to day lives could be so dramatically improved by such developments.
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