WheelchairX presents advanced insights into matters - both paramount and playful - relevant to people who require the use of wheelchairs.

Industry professionals, service organizations, educational institutions, wheelchair users, and individuals who desire to help those who require the use of a wheelchair will all find something of interest in WheelchairX.

Wheelchair Exoskeleton -
It's What a Wheelchair Wears

Could we call it a wheelchair exoskeleton? This one is what your wheelchair wears when you want to move about in rough terrain. The manufacturer—Howe and Howe Technologies—has made a machine that a wheelchair user "... backs into using ramps ..." and drives from their own wheelchair. So, away with the difficult transfers from wheelchair to machine, now we have a wheelchair exoskeleton.

The RipChair is actually not the first person-moving-machine that enables a wheelchair-bound individual to be its primary operator. A retrofitted conversion vehicle equipped with a lift and hand controls and an absent driver's seat, the combination being more widely known as a "handicap van", is a common example of such a machine. The Hungarian Kenguru car and the Vexell Quovis car are other examples. The present version of the MV-1; while indeed a purpose-built vehicle for folks in wheelchairs, does not permit a wheelchair-bound primary operator (i.e., driver) at the time of this writing so it cannot be counted among this class of machines.

The RipChair may bear a name that is a bit of a misnomer by suggesting that it is a chair. However, for some people it may be better than a chair since; among its all-terrain capabilities and other features, transfers are not required. WheelchairX suggests that the RipChair is a terrific wheelchair exoskeleton for wheelchair-bound individuals who do not want to transfer out of their wheelchair, but want all-terrain capabilities in a compact open structure machine.


One Brake Gone - Service Always Matters

The wheelchair brake - the small cylindrically shaped metal piece that actually presses against the tire - fell off ... somewhere. One can; of course, still move about in a one-brake-gone manual wheelchair. However, if you are an active quadriplegic or paraplegic who uses that chair as your primary means of locomotion, the one-brake-gone modus operandi can pose a humorously unique set of logistical challenges. The particular matter addressed here; though, is the matter of service.

A couple of weeks ago the one-brake-gone scenario actually happened. The quadriplegic who enjoyed this resourcefulness-testing opportunity encountered two distinctly different approaches to customer service.

Since an established, long-time business relation already existed with the large, well known wheelchair store located an hour away in big town, the well known wheelchair store was called to inquire about a replacement part for the wheelchair brake. The big town sales person is indeed very knowledgeable about such things. After a brief discussion of the one-brake-gone details, the big town sales person stated that a same-day call-back would be forthcoming.

Approximately two business days later, the nonexistent same-day call-back had become quite tardy. So, another call to the well known wheelchair store in big town was deemed necessary. Upon inquiring the second time, the big town sales person stated that they did not have the part in stock and that no same-day call-back (or next-day call-back) had occurred because their inquiry to their supplier had not produced an affirmative result, and they had determined that a replacement part would be difficult to obtain. Thus, the conversation was concluded amicably with no resolution to the one-brake-gone situation.

Editor's Note: As of this writing, according to the pilot of the one-brake-gone chair, no further communication has been received from the large well known wheelchair store in big town.

What happened next? A visit to a small wheelchair store - a store located much closer than big town - was deemed a necessary exploratory venture. So, the small wheelchair store received a visitor with one-brake-gone. After a quick five minute check, the small wheelchair store reported that they did not have the part in stock. The part's unavailability notwithstanding, the small wheelchair store's representative pursued the one-brake-gone matter a bit further. The representative disappeared for no more than two minutes and then emerged with a potential alternative. Weilding a similarly shaped brake part which had been manufactured for an entirely different brand of wheelchair, the representative took the time to consider and investigate an alternative solution to this one-brake-gone matter. The alternative part fit and operated perfectly.

The pilot of the one-brake-gone wheelchair had not previously been a customer of the small wheelchair store. The small store's excellent service; however, has changed the future of that particular business relationship. Indeed, service always matters.



Tip: If you need a little extra help moving in a manual wheelchair, but do not prefer the size and expense of a power-chair, then consider the MX2+ SmartDrive by Max-Mobility.


Tip: If you're remodelling and want a roll-in shower, but you want a real roll-in shower rather than having to go over a hump, then do yourself a favor and investigate linear shower drains. They look as good as they work—terrific.