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New wheelchair designed to encourage seated movement

New wheelchair designed to encourage seated movement


A new prototype wheelchair aims to encourage seated movement and improve health and wellbeing.

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If you sit behind a desk in an office all day then you'll be all too aware of the effects from not changing your position regularly. Wheelchair users spend the majority of their day seated, with long periods in the same position, resulting in severe pain, deformities, and even bedsores. Roger Hochstrasser, founder of r going, plans to improve the situation with a new adjustable wheelchair.

Hochstrasser has teamed up with Swiss research group Empa, and the pair have developed an ergonomic seat for electric wheelchairs which helps users move around frequently. The wheelchair, which is undergoing testing, consists of ribs and movable joints inside an articulated backrest that match the contours of a user's body. The unique backrest, powered by the same battery as the wheelchair, can be tilted up to 22 degrees forward and 40 degrees backwards, and the bottom can also be rotated 30 degrees horizontally. An ergotherapist can program the movement of the chair, based on data from pressure points measured by a pressure mat on the seat, to ensure the user has to change position during the day. The project took around 18 months from concept to prototype, and further testing is planned for the near future with a launch in 2013.