A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, used when walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, or disability. Wheelchairs come in a wide variety of formats to meet the specific needs of their users. They may include specialized seating adaptions, individualized controls, and may be specific to particular activities, as seen with sports wheelchairs and beach wheelchairs. The most widely recognised distinction is between powered wheelchairs ("powerchairs"), where propulsion is provided by batteries and electric motors, and manually propelled wheelchairs, where the propulsive force is provided either by the wheelchair user/occupant pushing the wheelchair by hand ("self-propelled"), or by an attendant pushing from the rear ("attendant propelled").
|An athlete in a wheelchair|
The earliest records of wheeled furniture are an inscription found on a stone slate in China and a child's bed depicted in a frieze on a Greek vase, both dating between the 6th and 5th century BCE. The first records of wheeled seats being used for transporting disabled people date to three centuries later in China; the Chinese used early wheelbarrows to move people as well as heavy objects. A distinction between the two functions was not made for another several hundred years, until around 525 CE, when images of wheeled chairs made specifically to carry people begin to occur in Chinese art.
Although Europeans eventually developed a similar design, this method of transportation did not exist until 1595 when an unknown inventor from Spain built one for King Phillip II. Although it was an elaborate chair having both armrests and leg rests, the design still had shortcomings since it did not feature an efficient propulsion mechanism and thus, requires assistance to propel it. This makes the design more of a modern-day highchair or portable throne for the wealthy rather than a modern-day wheelchair for the disabled.
In 1655, Stephan Farffler, a 22-year-old paraplegic watchmaker, built the world's first self-propelling chair on a three-wheel chassis using a system of cranks and cogwheels. However, the device had an appearance of a hand bike more than a wheelchair since the design included hand cranks mounted at the front wheel.
In 1887, wheelchairs ("rolling chairs") were introduced to Atlantic City so invalid tourists could rent them to enjoy the Boardwalk. Soon, many healthy tourists also rented the decorated "rolling chairs" and servants to push them as a show of decadence and treatment they could never experience at home.
In 1933 Harry C. Jennings, Sr. and his disabled friend Herbert Everest, both mechanical engineers, invented the first lightweight, steel, folding, portable wheelchair. Everest had previously broken his back in a mining accident. Everest and Jennings saw the business potential of the invention and went on to become the first mass-market manufacturers of wheelchairs. Their "X-brace" design is still in common use, albeit with updated materials and other improvements. The X-brace idea came to Harry from the men’s folding “camp chairs / stools”, rotated 90 degrees, that Harry and Herbert used in the outdoors and at the mines.
There are a wide variety of types of wheelchair, differing by propulsion method, mechanisms of control, and technology used. Some wheelchairs are designed for general everyday use, others for single activities, or to address specific access needs. Innovation within the wheelchair industry is relatively common, but many innovations ultimately fall by the wayside, either from over-specialization, or from failing to come to market at an accessible price-point. The iBot is perhaps the best known example of this in recent years.
A self-propelled manual wheelchair incorporates a frame, seat, one or two footplates (footrests) and four wheels: usually two caster wheels at the front and two large wheels at the back. There will generally also be a separate seat cushion. The larger rear wheels usually have push-rims of slightly smaller diameter projecting just beyond the tyre; these allow the user to manoeuvre the chair by pushing on them without requiring them to grasp the tyres. Manual wheelchairs generally have brakes that bear on the tyres of the rear wheels, however these are solely a parking brake and in-motion braking is provided by the user's palms bearing directly on the push-rims. As this causes friction and heat build-up, particularly on long downslopes, many wheelchair users will choose to wear padded wheelchair gloves. Manual wheelchairs often have two push handles at the upper rear of the frame to allow for manual propulsion by a second person, however many active wheelchair users will remove these to prevent unwanted pushing from people who believe they are being helpful.
Everyday manual wheelchairs come in two major varieties, folding or rigid. Folding chairs are generally low-end designs, whose predominant advantage is being able to fold, generally by bringing the two sides together. However this is largely an advantage for part-time users who may need to store the wheelchair more often than use it. Rigid wheelchairs, which are increasingly preferred by full-time and active users, have permanently welded joints and many fewer moving parts. This reduces the energy required to push the chair by eliminating many points where the chair would flex and absorb energy as it moves. Welded rather than folding joints also reduce the overall weight of the chair. Rigid chairs typically feature instant-release rear wheels and backrests that fold down flat, allowing the user to dismantle the chair quickly for storage in a car. A few wheelchairs attempt to combine the features of both designs by providing a fold-to-rigid mechanism in which the joints are mechanically locked when the wheelchair is in use.
Many rigid models are now made with ultralight materials such as aircraft-grade aluminium and titanium, and wheelchairs of composite materials such as carbon-fibre have started to appear. Ultra lightweight rigid wheelchairs are commonly known as 'active user chairs' as they are ideally suited to independent use. Another innovation in rigid chair design is the installation of shock absorbers, such as Frog Legs, which cushion the bumps over which the chair rolls. These shock absorbers may be added to the front wheels, to the rear wheels, or both. Rigid chairs also have the option for their rear wheels to have a camber, or tilt, which angles the tops of the wheels in toward the chair. This allows for more mechanically efficient propulsion by the user and also makes it easier to hold a straight line while moving across a slope. Sport wheelchairs often have large camber angles to improve stability.
Rigid-framed chairs are generally made to measure, to suit both the specific size of the user and their needs and preferences around areas such as the "tippyness" of the chair - its stability around the rear axle. Experienced users with sufficient upper-body strength can generally balance the chair on its rear wheels, a "wheelie", and the "tippyness" of the chair controls the ease with which this can be initiated. The wheelie allows an independent wheelchair user to climb and descend curbs and move more easily over small obstacles and irregular ground such as cobbles.
The rear wheels of self-propelled wheelchairs typically range from 20–24 inches (51–61 cm)in diameter, and commonly resemble bicycle wheels. Wheels are rubber-tired and may be solid, pneumatic or gel-filled. The wheels of folding chairs may be permanently attached, but those for rigid chairs are commonly fitted with quick-release axles activated by depressing a button at the centre of the wheel.
All major varieties of wheelchair can be highly customized for the user's needs. Such customization may encompass the seat dimensions, height, seat angle, footplates, leg rests, front caster outriggers, adjustable backrests and controls. Various optional accessories are available, such as anti-tip bars or wheels, safety belts, adjustable backrests, tilt and/or recline features, extra support for limbs or head and neck, holders for crutches, walkers or oxygen tanks, drink holders, and mud and wheel-guards as clothing protectors.
Light weight and high cost are related in the manual wheelchair market. At the low-cost end, heavy, folding steel chairs with sling seats and little adaptability dominate. Users may be temporarily disabled, or using such a chair as a loaner, or simply unable to afford better. These chairs are common as "loaners" at large facilities such as airports, amusement parks and shopping centers. A slightly higher price band sees the same folding design produced in aluminium. Price typically then jumps from low to mid hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros to a four figure price range, with individually custom manufactured lightweight chairs with more options. The high end of the market contains ultra-light models, extensive seating options and accessories, all-terrain features, and so forth. The most expensive manual chairs may rival the cost of a small car.
An attendant-propelled wheelchair is generally similar to a self-propelled manual wheelchair, but with small diameter wheels at both front and rear. The chair is maneuvered and controlled by a person standing at the rear and pushing on handles incorporated into the frame. Braking is supplied directly by the attendant who will usually also be provided with a foot- or hand-operated parking brake.
These chairs are common in institutional settings and as loaner-chairs in large public venues. They are usually constructed from steel as light weight is less of a concern when the user is not required to self-propel.
Specially designed transfer chairs are now required features at airports in much of the developed world in order to allow access down narrow airliner aisles and facilitate the transfer of wheelchair-using passengers to and from their seats on the aircraft.
An electric-powered wheelchair, commonly called a "powerchair" is a wheelchair which additionally incorporates batteries and electric motors into the frame and that is controlled by either the user or an attendant, most commonly via a small joystick mounted on the armrest, or on the upper rear of the frame. For users who cannot manage a manual joystick, headswitches, chin-operated joysticks, sip-and-puff controllers or other specialist controls may allow independent operation of the wheelchair. Ranges of over 10 miles/15 km are commonly available from standard batteries.
Powerchairs are commonly divided by their access capabilities. An indoor-chair may only reliably be able to cross completely flat surfaces, limiting them to household use. An indoor-outdoor chair is less limited, but may have restricted range or ability to deal with slopes or uneven surfaces. An outdoor chair is more capable, but will still have a very restricted ability to deal with rough terrain. A very few specialist designs offer a true cross-country capability.
Powerchairs have access to the full range of wheelchair options, including ones which are difficult to provide in an unpowered manual chair, but have the disadvantage of significant extra weight. Where an ultra-lightweight manual chair may weigh under 10 kg, the largest outdoor power-chairs may weigh 200 kg or more.
Smaller power chairs often have four wheels, with front or rear wheel drive, but large outdoor designs commonly have six wheels, with small wheels at front and rear and somewhat larger powered wheels in the centre.
A power-assisted wheelchair is a recent development that uses the frame and seating of a typical rigid manual chair while replacing the standard rear wheels with wheels of similar size which incorporate batteries and battery-powered motors in the hubs. A floating rim design senses the pressure applied by the users push and activates the motors proportionately to provide a power assist. This results in the convenience, and small size of a manual chair while providing motorised assistance for rough/uneven terrain and steep slopes that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to navigate, especially by those with limited upper-body function. As the wheels necessarily come at a weight penalty it is often possible to exchange them with standard wheels to match the capabilities of the wheelchair to the current activity.
Mobility scooters share some features with powerchairs, but primarily address a different market segment, people with a limited ability to walk, but who might not otherwise consider themselves disabled. Smaller mobility scooters are typically three wheeled, with a base on which is mounted a basic seat at the rear, with a control tiller at the front. Larger scooters are frequently four-wheeled, with a much more substantial seat.
Opinions are often polarized as to whether mobility scooters should be considered wheelchairs or not, and negative stereotyping of scooter users is worse than for manual or powerchair users. Some commercial organisations draw a distinction between powerchairs and scooters when making access provisions due to a lack of clarity in the law as to whether scooters fall under the same equality legislation as wheelchairs.
One-arm or single arm drive enables a user to self-propel a manual wheelchair using only a single arm. The large wheel on the same side as the arm to be used is fitted with two concentric handrims, one of smaller diameter than the other. On most models the outer, smaller rim, is connected to the wheel on the opposite side by an inner concentric axle. When both handrims are grasped together, the chair may be propelled forward or backward in a straight line. When either handrim is moved independently, only a single wheel is used and the chair will turn left or right in response to the handrim used. Some wheelchairs, designed for use by hemiplegics, provide a similar function by linking both wheels rigidly together and using one of the footplates to control steering via a linkage to the front caster.
Reclining or tilt-in-space wheelchairs have seating surfaces which can be tilted to various angles. The original concept was developed by an orthotist, Hugh Barclay, who worked with disabled children and observed that postural deformities such as scoliosis could be supported or partially corrected by allowing the wheelchair user to relax in a tilted position. The feature is also of value to users who are unable to sit upright for extended periods for pain or other reasons.
In the case of reclining wheelchairs, the seat-back tilts back, and the leg rests can be raised, while the seat base remains in the same position, somewhat similar to a common recliner chair. Some reclining wheelchairs lean back far enough that the user can lie down completely flat. Reclining wheelchairs are preferred in some cases for some medical purposes, such as reducing the risk of pressure sores, providing passive movement of hip and knee joints, and making it easier to perform some nursing procedures, such as intermittent catheterization to empty the bladder and transfers to beds, and also for personal reasons, such as people who like using an attached tray. The use of reclining wheelchairs is particularly common among people with spinal cord injuries such as quadriplegia.
In the case of tilting wheelchairs, the seat-back, seat base, and leg rests tilt back as one unit, somewhat similar to the way a person might tip a four-legged chair backwards to balance it on the back legs. While fully reclining spreads the person's weight over the entire back side of the body, tilting wheelchairs transfer it from only the buttocks and thighs (in the seated position) to partially on the back and head (in the tilted position). Tilting wheelchairs are preferred for people who use molded or contoured seats, who need to maintain a particular posture, who adversely affected by sheer forces (reclining causes the body to slide slightly every time), or who need to keep a communication device, powered wheelchair controls, or other attached device in the same relative position throughout the day. Tilting wheelchairs are commonly used by people with cerebral palsy, people with some muscle diseases, and people with limited range of motion in the hip or knee joints. Tilting options are more common than reclining options in wheelchairs designed for use by children.
A standing wheelchair is one that supports the user in a nearly standing position. They can be used as both a wheelchair and a standing frame, allowing the user to sit or stand in the wheelchair as they wish. Some versions are entirely manual, others have powered stand on an otherwise manual chair, while others have full power, tilt, recline and variations of powered stand functions available. The benefits of such a device include, but are not limited to: aiding independence and productivity, raising self-esteem and psychological well-being, heightening social status, extending access, relief of pressure, reduction of pressure sores, improved functional reach, improved respiration, reduced occurrence of UTI, improved flexibility, help in maintaining bone mineral density, improved passive range motion, reduction in abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, and skeletal deformities. Other wheelchairs provide some of the same benefits by raising the entire seat to lift the user to standing height.
A range of disabled sports have been developed for disabled athletes, including basketball, rugby, tennis, racing and dancing. The wheelchairs used for each sport have evolved to suit the specific needs of that sport and often no longer resemble their everyday cousins. They are usually non-folding (in order to increase rigidity), with a pronounced negative camber for the wheels (which provides stability and is helpful for making sharp turns), and often are made of composite, lightweight materials. Even seating position may be radically different, with racing wheelchairs generally used in a kneeling position. Sport wheelchairs are rarely suited for everyday use, and are often a 'second' chair specifically for sport use, although some users prefer the sport options for everyday use. Some disabled people, specifically lower-limb amputees, may use a wheelchair for sports, but not for everyday activities.
While most wheelchair sports use manual chairs, some power chair sports, such as powerchair football, exist.
E-hockey is hockey played from electrical wheelchairs.
Wheelchair stretchers are a variant of wheeled stretchers/gurneys that can accommodate a sitting patient, or be adjusted to lie flat to help in the lateral (or supine) transfer of a patient from a bed to the chair or back. Once transferred, the stretcher can be adjusted to allow the patient to assume a sitting position.
All-terrain wheelchairs can allow users to access terrain otherwise completely inaccessible to a wheelchair user. Two different formats have been developed. One hybridises wheelchair and mountain bike technology, generally taking the form of a frame within which the user sits and with four mountain bike wheels at the corners. In general there are no push-rims and propulsion/braking is by pushing directly on the tyres.
A more common variant is the beach wheelchair (Beach-Going Wheelchair) which can allow better mobility on beach sand, including in the water, on uneven terrain, and even on snow. The common adaptation among the different designs is that they have extra-wide balloon wheels or tires, to increase stability and decrease ground pressure on uneven or unsteady terrain. Different models are available, both manual and battery-driven. In some countries in Europe, where accessible tourism is well established, many beaches have wheelchairs of this type available for loan/hire.
A smart wheelchair is any powerchair using a control system to augment or replace user control. Its purpose is to reduce or eliminate the user's task of driving a powerchair. Usually, a smart wheelchair is controlled via a computer, has a suite of sensors and applies techniques in mobile robotics, but this is not necessary. The interface may consist of a conventional wheelchair joystick, a "sip-and-puff" device or a touch-sensitive display. This differs from a conventional powerchair, in which the user exerts manual control over speed and direction without intervention by the wheelchair's control system.
Smart wheelchairs are designed for a variety of user types. Some are designed for users with cognitive impairments, such as dementia, these typically apply collision-avoidance techniques to ensure that users do not accidentally select a drive command that results in a collision. Othersfocus on users living with severe motor disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, or with quadriplegia, and the role of the smart wheelchair is to interpret small muscular activations as high-level commands and execute them. Such wheelchairs typically employ techniques from artificial intelligence, such as path-planning.
Recent technological advances are slowly improving wheelchair and powerchair technology.
A variation on the manually-propelled wheelchair is the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), designed by the MIT Mobility Lab. This wheelchair is designed to be low-cost, constructed with local materials, for users in developing countries. Engineering modifications have added hand-controlled levers to the LFC, to enable users to move the chair over uneven ground and minor obstacles, such as bumpy dirt roads, that are common in developing countries. It is under development, and has been tested in Kenya and India so far.
The addition of geared, all-mechanical wheels for manual wheelchairs is a new development incorporating a hypocycloidal reduction gear into the wheel design. The 2-gear wheels can be added to a manual wheelchair. The geared wheels provide a user with additional assistance by providing leverage through gearing (like a bicycle, not a motor). The two-gear wheels offer two speed ratios- 1:1 (no help, no extra torque) and 2:1, providing 100% more hill climbing force. The low gear incorporates an automatic "hill hold" function which holds the wheelchair in place on a hill between pushes, but will allow the user to override the hill hold to roll the wheels backwards if needed. The low gear also provides downhill control when descending.
A recent development related to wheelchairs is the handcycle. They come in a variety of forms, from road and track racing models to off-road types modelled after mountain bikes. While dedicated handcycle designs are manufactured, clip-on versions are available than can convert a manual wheelchair to a handcycle in seconds. The general concept is a clip-on front-fork with hand-pedals, usually attaching to a mounting on the footplate. A somewhat related concept is the Freewheel, a large dolley wheel attaching to the front of a manual wheelchair, again generally to the footplate mounting, which improves wheelchair performance over rough terrain. Unlike a handcycle, a wheelchair with Freewheel continues to be propelled via the rear wheels.
There have been significant efforts over the past 20 years to develop stationary wheelchair trainer platforms that could enable wheelchair users to exercise as one would on a treadmill or bicycle trainer. Some devices have been created that could be used in conjunction with virtual travel and interactive gaming similar to an omnidirectional treadmill.
The electric wheelchair shown on the right is fitted with Mecanum wheels (sometimes known as Ilon wheels) which give it complete freedom of movement. It can be driven forwards, backwards, sideways, and diagonally, and also turned round on the spot or turned around while moving, all operated from a simple joystick.
Foot propulsion of a manual wheelchair by the occupant is possible for users who have limited hand movement capabilities or simply do not wish to use their hands for propulsion. Foot propulsion also allows patients to exercise their legs to increase blood flow and limit further disability. Users who do this commonly may elect to have a lower seat height and no footplate to better suit the wheelchair to their needs.
Wheelbase chairs are powered or manual wheelchairs with specially molded seating systems interfaced with them for users with a more complicated posture. A molded seating system involves taking a cast of a person's best achievable seated position and then either carving the shape from memory foam or forming a plastic mesh around it. This seat is then covered, framed, and attached to a wheelbase.
A bariatric wheelchair is one designed to support larger weights; most standard chairs are designed to support no more than 250 lb (113 kg) on average.
Pediatric wheelchairs are another available subset of wheelchairs. These can address needs such as being able to play on the floor with other children, or cater for children in large hip-spica casts due to problems such as hip dysplasia.
Hemi wheelchairs have lower seats which are designed for easy foot propulsion. The decreased seat height also allows them to be used by children and shorter individuals.
A knee scooter is a related device with some features of a wheelchair and some of walking aids. Unlike wheelchairs they are only suitable for below knee injuries to a single leg. The user rests the injured leg on the scooter, grasps the handlebars, and pushes with the uninjured leg.
Adapting the built environment to make it more accessible to wheelchair users is one of the key campaigns of disability rights movements and local equality legislation such the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The Social Model of Disability defines 'disability' as the discrimination experienced by people with impairments as a result of the failure of society to provide the adaptions needed for them to participate in society as equals. This includes both physical adaption of the built environment and adaption of organizational and social structures and attitudes. A core principle of access is universal design - that all people regardless of disability are entitled to equal access to all parts of society like public transportation and buildings. A wheelchair user is less disabled in an environment without stairs.
Access starts outside of the building, with the provision of reduced height kerb-cuts where wheelchair users may need to cross roads, and the provision of adequate wheelchair parking, which must provide extra space in order to allow wheelchair users to transfer directly from seat to chair. Some tension exists between access provisions for visually impaired pedestrians and wheelchair users and other mobility impaired pedestrians as textured paving, vital for visually impaired people to recognise the edge of features such as light-controlled crossings, is uncomfortable at best, and dangerous at worst, to those with mobility impairments.
For access to public buildings, it is frequently necessary to adapt older buildings with features such as ramps or elevators in order to allow access by wheelchair users and other people with mobility impairments. Other important adaptations can include powered doors, lowered fixtures such as sinks and water fountains, and accessible toilets with adequate space and grab bars to allow the disabled person to transfer out of their wheelchair onto the fixture. Access needs for people with other disabilities, for instance visual impairments, may also be required, such as by provision of high visibility markings on the edges of steps and braille labelling. Increasingly new construction for public use is required by local equality laws to have these features incorporated at the design stage.
The same principles of access that apply to public buildings also apply to private homes and may be required as part of local building regulations. Important adaptations include external access, providing sufficient space for a wheelchair user to move around the home, doorways that are wide enough for convenient use, access to upper floors, where they exist, which can be provided either by dedicated wheelchair lifts, or in some cases by using a stairlift to transfer between wheelchairs on different floors, and by providing accessible bathrooms with showers and/or bathtubs that are designed for accessibility. Accessible bathrooms can permit the use of mobile shower chairs or transfer benches to facilitate bathing for people with disabilities. Wet rooms are bathrooms where the shower floor and bathroom floor are one continuous waterproof surface. Such floor designs allow a wheelchair user using a dedicated shower chair, or transferring onto a shower seat, to enter the shower without needing to overcome a barrier or lip.
The construction of low floor trams and buses is increasingly required by law, whereas the use of inaccessible features such as paternosters in public buildings without any alternative methods of wheelchair access is increasingly deprecated. Modern architecture is increasingly required by law and recognised good practise to incorporate better accessibility at the design stage.
In many countries, such as the UK, the owners of inaccessible buildings who have not provided permanent access measures are still required by local equality legislation to provide 'reasonable adjustments' to ensure that disabled people are able to access their services and are not excluded. These may range from keeping a portable ramp on hand to allow a wheelchair user to cross an inaccessible threshold, to providing personal service to access goods they are not otherwise able to reach.
Public transit vehicles are increasingly required to be accessible to people who use wheelchairs.
In the UK, all single deck buses are required to be accessible to wheelchair users by 2017, all double-deck coaches by 2020. Similar requirements exist for trains, with most trains already incorporating a number of wheelchair-spaces.
The EU has required airline and airport operators to support the use of airports and airliners by wheelchair users and other 'Persons with Reduced Mobility' since the introduction of EU Directive EC1107/2006.
New York City's entire bus system is wheelchair-accessible, and a multimillion-dollar renovation program is underway to provide elevator access to many of the city's 485 subway stations.
The Washington, D.C. Metro system features complete accessibility on all its subways and buses.
In the United States a wheelchair that has been designed and tested for use as a seat in motor vehicles is often referred to as a "WC19 Wheelchair" or a "transit wheelchair". ANSI-RESNA WC19 (officially, SECTION 19 ANSI/RESNA WC/VOL. 1 Wheelchairs for use in Motor Vehicles) is a voluntary standard for wheelchairs designed for use when traveling facing forward in a motor vehicle. ISO 7176/19 is an international transit wheelchair standard that specifies similar design and performance requirements as ANSI/RESNA WC19.
Several organizations exist that help to give and receive wheelchair equipment. Organizations that accept wheelchair equipment donations typically attempt to identify recipients and match them with the donated equipment they have received. Organizations that accept donations in the form of money for wheelchairs typically have the wheelchairs manufactured and distributed in large numbers, often in developing countries. Organizations focusing on wheelchairs include Direct Relief, the Free Wheelchair Mission, Hope Haven, Personal Energy Transportation, the Wheelchair Foundation and WheelPower.
In the United Kingdom wheelchairs are supplied and maintained free of charge for disabled people whose need for such a chair is permanent.
Wheelchair seating systems are designed both to support the user in the sitting position and to redistribute pressure from areas of the body that are at risk of pressure ulcers. For someone in the sitting position, the parts of the body that are the most at risk for tissue breakdown include the ischial tuberosities, coccyx, sacrum and greater trochanters. Wheelchair cushions are the prime method of delivering this protection and are nearly universally used. Wheelchair cushions are also used to provide stability, comfort, aid posture and absorb shock. Wheelchair cushions range from simple blocks of foam costing a few pounds or dollars, to specifically engineered multilayer designs with costs running into the hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros.
Prior to 1970, little was known about the effectiveness of wheelchair cushions and there was not a clinical method of evaluating wheelchair seat cushions. Most recently, pressure imaging (or pressure mapping) is used to help determine each individual’s pressure distribution to properly determine and fit a seating system.
While almost all wheelchair users will use a wheelchair cushion, some users need more extensive postural support. This can be provided by adaptions to the back of the wheelchair, which can provide increased rigidity, head/neck rests and lateral support and in some cases by adaptions to the seat such as pommels and knee-blocks. Harnesses may also be required.
The 2018 Australian Open was a tennis tournament played at Melbourne Park between 15–28 January 2018, and was the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2018 season. The tournament consisted of events for professional players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Junior and wheelchair players compete in singles and doubles tournaments. Roger Federer was the defending champion in the men's singles event and successfully retained his title (his sixth), defeating Marin Čilić in the final, while Caroline Wozniacki won the women's title, defeating Simona Halep in the final to win her first Grand Slam.
The tournament was the 106th edition of the event (the 50th edition of the Open Era). Additionally, it was the 200th Major tournament of the Open Era. It also marked the 30th anniversary of the Australian Open moving from the Kooyong Tennis Club to Melbourne Park.2018 French Open
The 2018 French Open was a Grand Slam tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts. It took place at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France, from 27 May to 10 June and consisted of events for players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Junior and wheelchair players also took part in singles and doubles events. Rafael Nadal (Spain) was the defending champion in the Men's Singles and won his 11th French Open title. Simona Halep( Rome) won her first Grand Slam title in Women's Singles.
It was the 122nd edition of the French Open and the second Grand Slam event of 2018. Jeļena Ostapenko was the defending champion in the Women's Singles but lost in the first round to Kateryna Kozlova. This was the first French Open since 1992 that both the men's and the women's singles competitions were won by the top seeds.2018 US Open (tennis)
The 2018 US Open was the 138th edition of tennis' US Open and the fourth and final Grand Slam event of the year. It was held on outdoor hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
Rafael Nadal and Sloane Stephens were the defending champions in the men's and women's singles events, however both failed to defend their titles. Nadal retired during his semifinal match against Juan Martín del Potro. Stephens was defeated in the quarterfinals by Anastasija Sevastova, whom Stephens had beaten at the same stage the previous year.
Novak Djokovic won the men's singles title, defeating del Potro in the final, 6–3, 7–6(7–4), 6–3. It was his third US Open title and 14th Grand Slam, tieing Pete Sampras' record to become equal third among all-time Grand Slam champions. In women's singles, Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in the final, 6–2, 6–4, becoming Japan's first ever able-bodied Grand Slam singles champion.2018 Wimbledon Championships
The 2018 Wimbledon Championships was a Grand Slam tennis tournament which took place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. The main tournament began on Monday, 2 July 2018 and finished on Sunday, 15 July 2018. Novak Djokovic won the Gentlemen's Singles title and Angelique Kerber won the Ladies' Singles title.
The 2018 tournament was the 132nd edition of The Championships, the 125th staging of the Ladies' Singles Championship event, the 51st in the Open Era and the third Grand Slam tournament of the year. It was played on grass courts and was part of the ATP World Tour, the WTA Tour, the ITF Junior tour and the NEC Tour. The tournament was organised by All England Lawn Tennis Club and International Tennis Federation.
Roger Federer and Garbiñe Muguruza were both unsuccessful in defending their 2017 titles. Federer lost in the quarterfinals to eventual finalist Kevin Anderson, while Muguruza lost in the second round to Alison Van Uytvanck.2019 Australian Open
The 2019 Australian Open was a Grand Slam tennis tournament that took place at Melbourne Park from 14 to 27 January 2019. It was the 107th edition of the Australian Open, the 51st in the Open Era, and the first Grand Slam of the year. The tournament consisted of events for professional players in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Junior and wheelchair players competed in singles and doubles tournaments. The 2019 Australian Open was the first Australian Open to feature final set tie-breaks.
Roger Federer and Caroline Wozniacki were the defending men's and women's singles champions, but were unsuccessful in their respective title defenses; Federer lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round and Wozniacki lost to Maria Sharapova in the third round.Novak Djokovic of Serbia won the men's singles title at the 2019 Australian Open, defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in the men's final. Naomi Osaka of Japan defeated Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 to win the women's singles title.2019 French Open
The 2019 French Open was a Grand Slam tennis tournament played on outdoor clay courts. It was held at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France from 26 May to 9 June, comprising singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Junior and wheelchair tournaments are also scheduled. Rafael Nadal was the defending champion in men's singles and won a record 12th French Open singles title. Simona Halep was the defending champion in the women's singles, but lost in the quarterfinals.
It was the 123rd edition of the French Open and the second Grand Slam event of 2019. The main singles draws included 16 qualifiers for men and 12 for women out of 128 players in each draw. This was in contrast to two other Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open and Wimbledon, which from 2019 increased the number of women qualifiers to 16, to match with the US Open.
2019 was the final year in which there was no roof on any of the French tennis courts. On 5 June 2019, the entire day's tennis was washed out due to heavy rain. It is also the only Grand Slam to retain the advantage set in the final sets, whereas Australian Open and Wimbledon have now switched to tiebreaks.2019 Wimbledon Championships
The 2019 Wimbledon Championships is a Grand Slam tennis tournament that is scheduled to take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom. Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber are the defending champions in the single competitions.
The main tournament is due to begin on Monday 1 July 2019 and finish on Sunday 14 July 2019. It will be the first version of the tournament to feature a tie break at 12 all in the final set. In the Women's Singles, there will be 16 qualifiers from 128 entrants, an increase from 12 qualifiers from 96 entrants. Doubles qualifying will be eliminated as a result. The change brings the qualification for the Women's Singles into line with that for the Men's Singles, which remains unchanged.Accessibility
Accessibility is the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design and practice of accessible development ensures both "direct access" (i.e. unassisted) and "indirect access" meaning compatibility with a person's assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers).
Accessibility can be viewed as the "ability to access" and benefit from some system or entity. The concept focuses on enabling access for people with disabilities, or special needs, or enabling access through the use of assistive technology; however, research and development in accessibility brings benefits to everyone.Accessibility is not to be confused with usability, which is the extent to which a product (such as a device, service, or environment) can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.
Accessibility is strongly related to universal design which is the process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations. This is about making things accessible to all people (whether they have a disability or not).Disability sport classification
Disability sports classification is a system that allows for fair competition between people with different types of disabilities. Historically, the process has been by two groups: specific disability type sport organizations that cover multiple sports, and specific sport organizations that cover multiple disability types including amputations, cerebral palsy, deafness, intellectual impairments, les autres and short stature, vision impairments, spinal cord injuries, and other disabilities not covered by these groups. Within specific disability types, some of the major organizations have been CPISRA has for cerebral palsy and head injuries, ISMWSF for spinal cord injuries, ISOD for orthopaedic conditions and amputees, INAS for people with intellectual disabilities, and IBSA for blind and vision impaired athletes.
Amputee sports classification is a disability specific sport classification used for disability sports to facilitate fair competition among people with different types of amputations. This classification was set up by International Sports Organization for the Disabled (ISOD), and is currently managed by IWAS who ISOD merged with in 2005. Several sports have sport specific governing bodies managing classification for amputee sportspeople. The classes for ISOD's amputee sports classification system are A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8 and A9. The first four are for people with lower limb amputations. A5 through A8 are for people with upper limb amputations.
Cerebral palsy sport classification is a classification system used by sports that include people with cerebral palsy (CP) with different degrees of severity to compete fairly against each other and against others with different types of disabilities. In general, Cerebral Palsy-International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA) serves as the body in charge of classification for cerebral palsy sport, though some sports have their own classification systems which apply to CP sportspeople. The classification system developed by the CP-ISRA includes eight classes: CP1, CP2, CP3, CP4, CP5, CP6, CP7 and CP8. These classes can be generally grouped into upper wheelchair, wheelchair and ambulatory classes. CP1 is the class for upper wheelchair, while CP2, CP3 and CP4 are general wheelchair classes. CP5, CP6, CP7 and CP8 are ambulatory classes.
The Les Autres class of disabilities generally covers two classes. These are people with short stature and people with impaired passive range of movement. The latter is sometimes referred to as PROM. There are a number of sports open to people who fit into Les Autres classes, though their eligibility often depends on if they have short stature or PROM. Historically, disability sports classification has not been open specifically to people with transplants, diabetics and epileptics. This is because disabilities need to be permanent in nature.
Classification for disability sports generally has three or four steps. The first step is generally a medical assessment. The second is generally a functional assessment. This may involve two parts: first observing a sportspeople in training and then involving observing sportspeople in competition. There are a number of people involved in this process beyond the sportsperson including individual classifiers, medical classifiers, technical classifiers, a chief classifer, a head of classification, a classification panel and a classification committee.Disabled sports
Disabled sports, also adaptive sports or parasports, are sports played by people with a disability, including physical and intellectual disabilities. As many disabled sports are based on existing able bodied sports, modified to meet the needs of persons with a disability, they are sometimes referred to as adapted sports. However, not all disabled sports are adapted; several sports that have been specifically created for persons with a disability have no equivalent in non-disabled sports. Disability exists in four categories: physical, mental, permanent and temporary.Grand Slam (tennis)
The Grand Slam tournaments, also called majors, are the four most important annual tennis events. They offer the most ranking points, prize money, public and media attention, the greatest strength and size of field, and greater number of "best of" sets for men. The Grand Slam itinerary consists of the Australian Open in mid January, the French Open around late May through early June, Wimbledon in June-July, and the US Open in August-September. Each tournament is played over a two-week period. The Australian and United States tournaments are played on hard courts, the French on clay, and Wimbledon on grass. Wimbledon is the oldest, founded in 1877, followed by the US in 1881, the French in 1891, and the Australian in 1905. However, of these four, only Wimbledon was a major before 1924–25, when all four became designated Grand Slam tournaments. Skipping majors—especially the Australian Open because of the remoteness, the inconvenient dates (around Christmas and New Year's Day) and the low prize money—was not unusual before 1982.Grand Slam tournaments are not operated by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) or the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), but by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). However, the ATP and WTA do award ranking points based on a player's performance at a major.The term Grand Slam, without qualification, and also originally, refers to the achievement of winning all four major championships within a single calendar year within one of the five events: men's and women's singles; men's, women's, and mixed doubles. In doubles, one team may accomplish a Grand Slam playing together or one player may achieve it with different partners.Winning the four majors in consecutive tournaments but not in the same year is known as a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam, while winning all four majors at any point during the course of a career is known as a Career Grand Slam. Winning the gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games in addition to the four majors in one calendar year is known as a "Golden Grand Slam" or more commonly the "Golden Slam". Also, winning the Year-End Championship (known as ATP Finals for men's singles and doubles disciplines, and WTA Finals for both women's disciplines) in the same period is known as a "Super Slam". Together, all four majors in all three disciplines (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles) are called a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles. No male or female player has won all twelve events in one calendar year, although a "career boxed set" has been achieved by three female players.International Tennis Federation
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is the governing body of world tennis, wheelchair tennis, and beach tennis. It was founded in 1913 as the International Lawn Tennis Federation by twelve national associations, and as of 2016, is affiliated with 211 national tennis associations and six regional associations.
The ITF's governance responsibilities include maintaining and enforcing the rules of tennis, regulating international team competitions, promoting the game, and preserving the sport's integrity via anti-doping and anti-corruption programs. The ITF partners with the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) to govern professional tennis.
The ITF organizes the Grand Slam events, annual team competitions for men (Davis Cup), women (Fed Cup), and mixed teams (Hopman Cup), as well as tennis and wheelchair tennis events at the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games on behalf of the International Olympic Committee. The ITF sanctions the Grand Slam tennis tournaments as well as circuits which span age ranges (junior, professional men and women, and seniors) as well as disciplines (wheelchair tennis; beach tennis). In addition to these circuits, the ITF also maintains rankings for juniors, seniors, wheelchair and beach tennis.Marathon
The marathon is a long-distance race, completed by running, walking, or a run/walk strategy. There are also wheelchair divisions. The marathon has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles; 26 miles 385 yards), usually run as a road race. The event was instituted in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, who reported the victory.
The marathon was one of the original modern Olympic events in 1896, though the distance did not become standardized until 1921. More than 800 marathons are held throughout the world each year, with the vast majority of competitors being recreational athletes, as larger marathons can have tens of thousands of participants.Wheelchair Basketball World Championship
The IWBF World Wheelchair Basketball Championship is an international wheelchair basketball competition contested by the men's and the women's national teams of the members of the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), the sport's global governing body.
The first unofficial Wheelchair Basketball World Championships for men was held in 1973, with Bruges, Belgium being the first host city. The unofficial world championship for men was won by Great Britain, with a team that included Philip Craven, who would later become the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Bruges, Belgium also hosted the first official World Championships, known as the Gold Cup tournament, in 1975.
The men's world championships has been won 6 times by the United States, twice each by Australia and Great Britain (one of which being the unofficial Championship in 1973), and once each by Israel, France and Canada. Wheelchair basketball world championships for women have been held since 1990. In the first 6 women's world championships, Canada has won four world titles, and the United States two world titles.Wheelchair basketball
Wheelchair basketball is basketball played by people with varying physical disabilities that disqualify them from playing an able-bodied sport. These include spina bifida, birth defects, cerebral palsy, paralysis due to accident, amputations (of the legs, or other parts), and many other disabilities. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair basketball worldwide. FIBA has recognized IWBF under Article 53 of its General Statutes.The IWBF has 82 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world, with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from recreation to club play and as elite national team members.Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games. The Wheelchair Basketball World Championship is played two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.Wheelchair basketball at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Wheelchair basketball at the 2012 Summer Paralympics was held from 30 August to 8 September. Competitions were held at the newly built Basketball Arena, which seated 10,000 spectators, and The O2 Arena (renamed "North Greenwich Arena" during the games due to sponsorship rules). Australia were the defending champions of the men's championship, while the United States were the defending champions of the women's championship.Wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair rugby (originally murderball, and known as quad rugby in the United States) is a team sport for athletes with a disability. It is practised in over twenty-five countries around the world and is a summer Paralympic sport.
The US name is based on the requirement that all wheelchair rugby players need to have disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs. Although most have spinal cord injuries, players may also qualify through multiple amputations, neurological disorders or other medical conditions. Players are assigned a functional level in points, and each team is limited to fielding a team with a total of eight points.
Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on a hardwood court, and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game. The rules include elements from wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby union.
The sport is governed by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) which was established in 1993.Wheelchair tennis at the 2012 Summer Paralympics
Wheelchair tennis events at the 2012 Summer Paralympics were held between 1–9 September at Eton Manor, London.World Wheelchair Curling Championship
The World Wheelchair Curling Championship is an annual world championship held to determine the world's best team in wheelchair curling. It is held every non-Paralympic year.
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