PEOPLE confined to wheelchairs will be able to reach for anything stored on the topmost shelves because a wheelchair has been developed in USA that can be raised a couple of metres without loss of normal mobility (Design News, Vol 49, No 1).
Named Full Access Wheelchair, the new design is also collapsible and can be lowered so the user can pick up things from the floor over a greater range without fear of tipping over. Invented by John Beard and James C Conwell, the wheelchair has an extendable linkage mechanism fitted to its base, which stabilises the chair while it is being raised or lowered. Though in the prototype stage, its inventors say it will be simple to manufacture because it uses standard wheelchair parts. "Most of these parts have come off other wheelchairs, so you can use normal production procedures to make it," Beard explained.