George Johann Klein invented the electric-powered wheelchair within the 1950s. Considered as essentially the most productive Canadian inventor of the 20th century, his other notable inventions embody the microsurgical staple gun, the ZEEP nuclear reactor, the Canadarm, and the Weasel all terrain vehicle. Klein was working for the National Research Council of Canada when he came up with the electric wheelchair which was meant for injured World War II veterans.
In 2005, the first successfully working electric wheelchair was welcomed back to Canada in the course of the official launch of Klein’s biography in Ottawa. The chair had been given to the government of the United States in 1955 in a gesture to demonstrate the commitment of Canada to assist disabled individuals everywhere in the world. It is now displayed on the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
The electric wheelchair has been dubbed as Canada’s Nice Invention. Its development was spurred by the influx of veterans of the Second World War who had become disabled by injuries sustained in battle. The concerted efforts of the National Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Paraplegic Association, and Canada’s Department of Veteran Affairs resulted in an electric motor propelled wheelchair that was actually useful.
Earlier than the advent of this type of wheelchair, quadriplegics had no way to move around by themselves. A little earlier, Canadian Paraplegic Association founder John Counsel had successfully lobbied the Canadian Government for the mass purchase of guide wheelchairs. This helped paraplegic veterans but not quadriplegics. Dr. Klein, in collaboration with medical practitioners, patients, engineers, and scientists, then moved into the breach by originating the concept of the electronic wheelchair.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on August 15, 1904, George Klein turned an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1968 and was later inducted to the Canadian Science and Technology Museum Corridor of Fame (in 1995) because of his work on the electric wheel chair and different noteworthy inventions. He died on November 4, 1992 in Ottawa on the age of 88 years.
His innovations, however, keep him alive within the memory of people everywhere in the world, particularly of those who are enjoying the independence and mobility that he made attainable by the electric wheelchair. At the moment there are lots of adaptations of this kind of wheelchair, which has been personalized to the different needs of individuals. Rear, centre, entrance wheel and four wheel drive variants are presently available.
Initially meant for quadriplegics and invalids who can not self-propel a guide wheelchair because of certain disabilities, the electric-powered wheelchair is now additionally prescribed for individuals who have cardiovascular conditions. It can be designed for use indoors or outdoors, or for both. There are portable models and full featured “rehab” models. There are kinds that have on-board chargers while others have separate chargers.
The electric wheelchair is managed via joysticks or other kinds of units reminiscent of chin controls or puff/sip scanners. These controllers can regulate not only the chair’s speed and direction but also different functional movements, akin to recline, tilt, seat elevation, and leg elevation, that make its occupant able to carry out sure motions and activities that would not have been possible otherwise.
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