Electric Wheelchair

Autumn Ritter

Background

  • The electric wheelchair was invented by a Canadian named George Klein. At the time, he was working with a team of engineers at the National Research Council of Canada in an effort to assist returning veterans from World War II.
  • Before this, wheelchairs were all manual; the person using it had to have someone push them or had to spin the wheels themselves. The invention of the motorized wheelchair allowed more freedom for people who had limited mobility.

How does it work?


  • They are powered by an electric motor, and generally have 4 wheels. The motors are battery-powered and must be charged when not in use, otherwise the battery could die and the person using it could be stranded wherever they are.
  • They are generally controlled by a joystick mounted on the armrest of the chair. Some have additional buttons based on the needs of the person using the chair. If someone is not able to use their hands, there is also a "puff controller" where you blow into a sensor to make it move.
  • Most wheelchairs have a lock system on the back to give them the ability to ride in a vehicle that has been adjusted to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.