Rio Mobility engineers have created a line of hand cycles and attachable scooter devices that were designed to keep people that use wheelchairs more active and healthy. According to designer band Rio Mobility CEO Bart Kylstra, wheelchair operation can be painful, and he wanted to design devices that could simplify life with a wheelchair.
George Alvardo was stabbed in the back during a party and was consequently paralyzed from the chest down. He was depressed for months after learning he’d be confined to a wheelchair, but things looked up once he received a hand cycle. It’s a great way to exercise and offer a more secure ride for wheelchair users; users are less fearful of their chairs tipping over while in motion.
Alvardo said, “When you’re in a wheelchair, you’re constantly looking for that little bump that might make you tip over, maybe little cracks in the ground… going up the curb, sometime the little ramp is the just an inch or so higher, and sometime that’s all it can take to make you flip out your chair. With this, you don’t worry about it.”
Kylstra said, “Most people in manual wheelchairs, by the time they reach middle age, are going to have problems with their arms. Specifically their shoulders, they have rotator cuff injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and at that point they’re forced into a power chair, and that means basically zero exercise; their health goes rapidly downhill.”
Kylstra’s powered scooter version of the device gives users the option of using it outside, and detaching it inside to exercise by using their arms for wheelchair operation indoors. A hybrid version is in the works that combines the hand cycle with motorized power assist, that will increase and decrease assistance depending upon the effort used in turning the pedals.