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I did spent some time using wheelchair but I have recovered enough from spinal injury so I no longer use a wheelchair. I have been told that if you spent years using a wheelchair your shoulder joints may develop problems because of the way the rims are pushed kind of forward. Not very natural movement
for human body.
What if the people using wheelchairs were using something similar to Nordic walking poles to propel the chair like cross country skiing?
I used my crutches for the pushing but having purpose made poles would be a good idea.
Also those poles would be more hygienic than pushing on the rims or occasionally on tyres. This may not suit tetraplegigs but paraplegigs should be fine using the technique?
Personal Energy Transportation (PET) Project
PET, a hand-cranked wheelchair [baconbrain, Sep 15 2006]
Cross-country skiing for people in wheelchairs
An idea conceived originally for blind people is branching out. (A little off topic, but maybe this would be fun?) [jutta, Sep 15 2006]
Winner of the Baruch Award for Undergraduate Innovation at the MIT IDEAS contest. [jutta, Sep 15 2006]
||I think I've seen people propelling a wheelchair with a couple of canes, but can't recall where.
||There's a group making hand-cranked wheelchairs that you might find interesting. See the PET link. The designer came up with a lever-operated version that's not on the website. I tried it and a normal wheelchair, and the wheelchair was miserable. I was told that many long-term wheelchair users get carpal-tunnel syndrome.
||There are "lever drive" wheelchairs that you propel forward by pulling one or two levers, at about head-height. I can't for the life of me find a good picture of one, but I've seen them in action - looked quite speedy.