Wheelchair News: Issue #3
In This Issue:
- Cool Wheelchair Review: the iBOT
- Famous People With Disabilities
- Website Recommendation: The Wheelchair Site
- Google's Accessible Search
- New Battery Option
- Find Your Perfect Wheelchair
- We Want Your Used Electric Wheelchair
1. Cool Wheelchair Review: the iBOT
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job at Used Wheelchairs USA is educating myself about the current wheelchair market. I've always been a fan of gadgets and technology, so I love to find out what features are available on various power wheelchairs. Today's wheelchair market is fascinating to me: some power chairs are fast (the Pride Quantum Blast 850 has a max speed of 10mph!), other electric wheelchairs have seats that elevate (for example, the Pride Jazzy 1103 Ultra), and still others have full power functions such as power elevating leg rests and power tilt recline. Truly, there is a chair out there for every user's needs.
Without a doubt, I can say that the iBOT wheelchair is one of the most unique wheelchairs on the market today. Developed by Dean Kamen -- creator of the famous Segway scooter -- the iBOT is capable of one-of-a-kind functions such as climbing stairs and balancing upright on just two wheels. The iBOT uses sensors and gyroscope technology to maintain its balance and perform in ways other wheelchairs cannot. For example, when curb climbing in an iBOT, the seat stays stationary while the chair's chassis moves and adjusts to climb up to 5.0" curbs.
Of course, uniqueness comes with a price. Clocking in at over $26,000, the iBOT is a luxury that few can afford. But at least it's always fun to window shop...
To see read about and see demonstrations of the iBOT, visit their website at: http://www.ibotnow.com/.
2. Famous People With Disabilities
Strong people are inspiring, especially when we see them overcoming challenges similar to our own. With this in mind, here are three famous faces who show that all they really have is a disABILITY:
- Stephen Hawking: A theoretical physicist and mathematician famous for his contributions to the field of quantum physics and his book, "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes." He is also quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair due to ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease. Hawking needs a computer to speak. Hawking does not lament his quadriplegia, stating, "The human race is so puny compared to the universe that being disabled is not of much cosmic significance."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Paralyzed at age 39, FDR is perhaps one of the most famous wheelchair users in American history. At the time of his presidency, he struggled to hide his paralysis from the public; he believed that his paraplegia would be perceived as a weakness unbefitting the President of the United States. During his 12 years in office, Roosevelt achieved much, including helping found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (aka the March of Dimes).
- Itzhak Perlman: One of the most famous and acclaimed violinists of today, Perlman made his debut at Carnegie Hall in 1963. In 1964, he won the prestigious Leventritt Competition. His musical genius can also be heard in his solo performances in the movies Schindler's List (1993) and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). Perlman has been disabled since age four, when he contracted polio. Although he made a good recovery, he walks with crutches and performs sitting down.
3. Website Recommendation: The Wheelchair Site
The Wheelchair Site (http://www.thewheelchairsite.com/) is an unbiased site powered by its user-based community. It is well-designed with a lot of information available at your fingertips.
The Wheelchair Site features several sections: wheelchair articles, wheelchair news, wheelchair shopping tips, wheelchair FAQ, and more. My favorite part of The Wheelchair Site is their blog community. There are two featured blogs -- "Wheels in the City" and "The Enabled Traveler" -- written by Chantal and Robert, respectively. The authors are themselves in wheelchairs and blog about their daily experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. Join the community to participate and have your voice heard.
The Wheelchair Site ((http://www.thewheelchairsite.com/) is very interesting and informative. When you have a spare minute, I recommend dropping by to see what they have to offer.
4. Google's Accessible Search
One of Google Lab's newest offerings, the Google Accessible Search (http://labs.google.com/accessible/), is geared toward providing search results that are most accessible for people who use a screen reader. Essentially, the Google Accessible Search gives preference to pages which, when their images and graphics are removed, will still be highly navigable. These pages allow a screen reader to easily convert text into spoken word for the benefit of the visually impaired.
5. New Battery Option
Your electric wheelchair's batteries are one of its most important components, giving it the power needed to take you wherever you go. Pride Mobility Jazzy, Jet, and Quantum wheel chairs use deep cycle batteries, meaning that the batteries are designed to store energy, to be drained almost completely, and then to be recharged fully. When they wear out, replacing your power wheelchair's batteries can be an expensive proposition. As of 1/1/2006, Pride Mobility charged $478 to replace a pair of U1 batteries, $536 to replace a pair of Group-22 batteries, and $816 to replace a pair of Group-24 batteries.
Used Wheelchairs USA now offers a New Battery Option: If you want us to install a set of 2 NEW batteries in your used wheelchair before we ship it to you, we'll pay about half the cost, and install them for you at no charge. Please call us to determine which set of batteries you'll need. Your share of the new battery cost will be:
- 2 Group 24 (12V75AH or similar) Batteries, installed: $99
- 2 Group 22 (12V55AH or similar) Batteries, installed: $79
- 2 U1 (12V33AH or similar) Batteries, installed: $49
We strongly recommend the New Battery Option when purchasing your used power wheelchair.
6. Find Your Perfect Wheelchair
If you've researched all of the electric wheelchairs that are available on the market today, you know there are hundreds of possibilities. All the available brands, models, and options can be overwhelming. It's important to keep a few questions in mind when searching for your next power chair:
- Will I use my electric wheel chair mostly outside, mostly inside, or both?
- How narrow are the doors in my home and workplace?
- Do I need a portable (take-apart) power wheelchair?
- How much do I weigh?
- How wide do I want the seat to be?
- How much can I spend?
Used Wheelchairs USA offers a no-obligation "Find My Perfect Wheelchair" search. We've taken out the guesswork and made it simple for you to choose your very best used electricwheelchair. Answer some easy questions and you'll instantly get a list of used motorized wheelchairs that meet your needs.
For more help, try these links:
7. We Want Your Used Electric Wheelchair
We buy used Pride Mobility electric wheel chairs. If you have a used electric wheelchair that you want to sell, please tell us about it at:
Until the next issue ...
Erin Raub, Product Manager
Used Wheelchairs USA