We already have them in our offices and in our cars, but anatomically-designed seating could finally be coming to electric wheelchairs.
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These days you can find ergonomic seats anywhere, like in cars or in the office. However, wheelchair users often don't have ergonomic seats, despite the fact that they spend most of their days sitting in the same position in the same chair. Engineers from EMPA, an interdisciplinary research institution in Switzerland, Institute for Energy and Mobility of the Berne University of Applied Science, and r going, a Swiss rehabilitation company, have now successfully developed an ergonomic seat for electric wheelchairs.
Ergotherapist Roger Hochstrasser of r going came up with the idea because he noticed that wheelchair users develop a whole lot of complaints after spending whole days in the same position. As can be seen in the image, the backside of the seat is constructed in such a way that it simulates the structure of the human torso. The seat shell can also adapt to the contour of the user's torso thanks to an articulated backrest. It can rotate and tilt forwards and backwards.
The control console also allows the ergotherapist to program the movements of the backrest, and lets the user adjust the seat optimally. A whole lot of tests have already been successfully performed, which only leaves the clinical tests to be conducted. This will eventually tell us to what extent this new ergonomic seat will improve the daily life of wheelchair users.
This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.