Next Mobility recently introduced the Tailwind, their new power assist wheelchair.
For those unfamiliar with wheelchair power assist technology- These are power systems that are added to a manual wheelchair or come as a matched component of a manual wheelchair. They are used to improve mobility for people who have marginal pushing ability, to avoid shoulder injury or rest injured shoulders, and for those wheelchair users who require powered mobility in a compact transportable form.
Power assist units and wheelchairs act to enhance the pushing ability of the user by responding to touch or light push on the handrims which in turn initiates the power assist. For some wheelchair users this has turned out to be the best of both worlds. A lighter more attractive package than a power wheelchair but with the added oomph needed to make the daily hump and long haul.
Next Mobility’s Tailwind is a dedicated power assist system. That means the power unit and the manual wheelchair have been engineered for each other. In fact, Tailwind is the rebirth of ill fated iBot’s distant cousin, the Independence Technology iGlide.
The Tailwind utilizes pretty much the same power-plant as it’s predecessor which historically was an extremely reliable one. However, the changes end there. Next Mobility obviously heard the moans of iGliders past who had to settle for a manual wheelchair with very little customization potential just to get the power assist technology.
Next Mobility chose to go with their manual RTm ultralight wheelchair which offers a large number of customizing opportunities including color, front end configuration, camber options, wheel options, seating and back dimension choices, and much more.
On the power side of the wheelchair, Next Mobility has added new software upgrades that they claim have made big improvements in the feel and response of the chair. The power technology, or Tailwind Power Package (TPP) includes – two quick release wheels with “touch sensitive” handrims, motors, controller and removable battery pack.
All components are seamlessly engineered to the frame and cleverly conceal the power that lurks below. At a rate of 200 times per second, the intelligent electronic controllers measure input and resulting speed and distance traveled. This patented “closed loop” system is designed to maintain motion regardless of terrain, keeping the chair tracking straight even on varied opposing surfaces (i.e. left wheel on grass, right wheel on sidewalk).
The manufacturer states that the average charging time is around 3.5 hours. The charge is said to be good for 9 miles of wheeling but count on user weight, type of terrain, and battery condition whittling away some of those precious miles.
You can put the eye on the Tailwind at: http://www.nextmobilitynow.com/