Electric wheelchair was invented after WW2 by George Johann Klein,a Canadian inventor, for the injured war veterans. Electric wheelchair is considered to be one of Canada’s greatest inventions that have benefited mankind. George came up with the electric wheelchair while he was with the National Research Council of Canada in 1950s.Many war veterans have suffered severe injuries that affected their ability to walk and require long rehabilitation periods. There is also a shortage of caretakers for the injured personnel. Hence, the invention of electric wheelchairs is a result of the need to give them independence and mobility. Today, the electric wheelchair has changed the lives of millions by providing them a ray of hope that they can be as independent in movements as normal people and gave them optimism in life. Electric wheelchairs can also be called electric powered wheelchairs, motorized wheelchairs or power wheelchairs.
Electric powered wheelchair is essentially powered by electric motors located at the rear of the wheelchair. The motors run on batteries which can sometimes be a hassle for the user as it requires recharging through a wall outlet. Power ratings for electric wheelchair is around 3 to 6 amperes depending on the environment the wheelchair is used in. Batteries are available either in wet or gel cell, each having its pros and cons.
Today, more than half a century later, electric wheelchairs have widened its role in helping the disabled. Besides helping the permanently disabled to move around independently, it is also used during the physical therapy of injured people who could not walk temporarily. Current developments of electric wheelchairs center around improving its motor efficiency and user friendly controls. The iBOT is an example of taking electric wheelchairs to the next level,literally. It can climb stairs and has built in sensors and gyroscopes to help the user balance himself. The image of electric wheelchairs have taken a new image in the form of snazzy electric wheelchairs which has a very trendy and youthful look to an otherwise bored looking equipment.