Developed by the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs office in Minnesota, this remarkable twist on traditional wheelchairs allows users to not only ‘stand up’ on demand (including paraplegics) but to move and maneuver while upright as well.
Standing wheelchairs are not new, but most lock into position and can only be moved again once the user finishes in one spot and sits back down. This modified invention allows for more flexibility, using a market-made system with a bottom anchoring pad, removing that anchor, and adding a chain drive allowing the user to move around while upright.
For the first time in more than 20 years, John Christensen can reach a book on the top shelf without any help. “Makes life a little easier,” Christensen said. “You don’t have to ask anybody to do something for you.” Dr. Gary Goldish took an existing standing wheelchair, and with the input of engineers and veterans, came up with design chances. “We modified it by adding a drive wheel that separated the push rim from the tire,” Goldish said. “The tire is on the ground each time, but it’s just transferring the load between the front and back faster. And that’s what makes it stable and mobile.”