Backrest capabilities as steering wheel in The Reagiro wheelchair

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2022-11-10 06:00:10

ETH Zurich postgraduate pupil Reto Togni has developed a prototype wheelchair proven at Dutch Design Week, which is steered by leaning back and forth.

The Reagiro wheelchair is designed to offer customers better management whereas permitting them to alter route with out breaking or slowing down – one thing that Togni says shouldn’t be attainable with conventional wheelchairs.

Reto Togni has developed a wheelchair known as The Reagiro

“The Reagiro introduces steering within the design of guide wheelchairs or, extra particularly, steering by leaning,” Togni advised Dezeen.

“This unlocks a pure and dynamic method of transferring, facilitates straightforward one-handed propulsion and stimulates trunk exercise whereas relieving the palms and shoulders.”

The back of a wheelchair with a bearing
It was designed to assist customers change route with out breaking or slowing down

A big bearing behind the chair allows the backrest to maneuver from left to proper, whereas versatile Bowden cables – additionally used to kind the brake and equipment cables on bikes – join the backrest to the entrance wheels.

To alter route with out slowing down, customers solely must lean back and forth on the backrest. This motion triggers the bearing and is handed down the cables to the entrance wheels, which rotate left or proper.

The Reagiro wheelchair frame
Customers lean left or proper on the backrest to alter route

The prototype wheelchair, which is at present in an early design-for-manufacture stage and being examined by wheelchair customers, is the end result of Togni’s doctoral research on movement management in guide wheelchairs.

His purpose was to unravel a typical drawback related to standard wheelchairs, the place modifications in route are managed by one-sided breaking and inevitably disrupt their ahead motion.

Wheels of a wheelchair
Bowden cables set off the entrance wheels to rotate left or proper

This sort of manoeuvre is beneficial when handing over tight areas, in keeping with Togni, however is much less useful for these wishing to maneuver rapidly or for these affected by arm fatigue or harm.

“[It] renders wheelchair propulsion vastly inefficient as each change or adjustment to route concurrently slows down the motion,” he defined.

Critics of The Reagiro have argued that many wheelchair customers have restricted management over their higher physique, typically making sideways motion tough and even inconceivable, which is why conventional wheelchairs are typically designed to assist and stabilise the higher physique.

In response, Togni performed a examine to find out how The Reagiro might be customised to swimsuit the wants of individuals with tetraplegia, who’re unable to voluntarily transfer the higher and decrease components of their physique.

A man in a wheelchair in a car park
The mechanism requires no arm enter

“Guide wheelchair customers throughout a broad spectrum of bodily skills have proven that only some customisation steps are wanted to fulfill the wants of a a lot bigger group of individuals than initially anticipated,” he defined.

Togni says his analysis additionally confirmed that guide wheelchairs with “easy mechanisms” are most well-liked over hi-tech choices by most wheelchair customers.

“Conversations with customers of assistive units confirmed that many favor easy mechanical methods over hi-tech options and search for units constructed for motion and exercise in keeping with particular person skills,” he mentioned.

A wheelchair user testing The Reagiro wheelchair
The mannequin is at present being examined by wheelchair customers

One other wheelchair meant to make life simpler for customers is Wheeliy 2.0, a foldable mannequin by Japanese startup studio Quantum, which is lighter than most conventional wheelchairs and simpler to fold.

Different designs on present at Dutch Design Week included a pavilion constituted of vibrant photo voltaic panels by structure studio V8 Architects and a rug that visualises the results of local weather change-induced drought.

The picture and video are courtesy of Reto Togni.

The Reagiro was on present from 21 to 30 October as a part of Dutch Design Week 2022. See Dezeen Occasions Information for an up-to-date checklist of structure and design occasions going down all over the world.



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