Saturday, January 14, 2017

Factoid of the day: electric scooters

Lord Snowdon just died.

A talented photographer, but also an industrial designer..

He is most famous for his marriage to Princess Margaret (no, not the married man she wants to marry in "The Crown", but a later romance). His shenanigans suggest that maybe PM would have been better just renouncing her position and moving to the USA or Canada instead of obeying the Queen.

But the obit contains this factoid:

Snowdon designed an electrically powered wheelchair, called the Chairmobile.

NYTimes 1972 article discusses the invention:

Continue reading the main story Smoking Gauloises and drinking Guinness in his office the other day, Lord Snowdon discussed his latest brainchild, an electrically powered mobile platform for the disabled, called the Chairmobile. It will be presented to the British public for sale in mid‐March.
“It's frightfully basic. It's not a great invention at, all,” said Lord Snowdon, who studied engineering and architecture at Cambridge. “It's just the simplest possible solution to some problems that confront the disabled every day.”
The Chairmobile was really born four summers ago, as a present for Quentin Crewe, a journalist and friend of Lord Snowdon's, who has been wheelchairbound for almost 20 years. “He was perpetually surrounded by a piece of totally undomestic chrome,” said Lord Snowdon. “It's a very nasty environment to he contained in all the time. It wouldn't fit into the elevator, he couldn't pull himself close enough to the table, and he automatically became a point of focus, jut because he was in a wheelchair.”
Lord Snowdon was particularly concerned that not only did: the same chair have to serve most handicapped people as a desk chair, a dining chair, and chair to relax in, but also that it fixed its inhabitant in the same position all the time. “I said to, myself let's try to think of a means of transport from A to in the cheapest and most versatile possible way,” said Lord Snowdon, tracing through the air with a pencil.

The only photo I could find was this one from Ironside...

Canadian-American actor Raymond Burr (1917 - 1993) testing the Chairmobile, a battery-powered mobility aid for the disabled, designed by Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (left), 17th March 1972.

the common term for this is an electric scooter and yes, sometimes Medicaid will pay for it.

so which one is best?

Electric mobility scooters are steered by handlebars and operated through controls located on the vehicle's tiller. This type of set up works well for an individual with enough upper body strength, arm reach and range of motion to manage the power scooter safely. For others, a power chair might be a better solution.

a summary of mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs can be found here.

one of the results of the Americans with disabilities act was to insist the shopping areas are wheelchair friendly, and today many US malls have wheelchairs and even electric scooters for the elderly to shop with, mainly for the elderly who can walk but can't walk long distances.

When my mom was ailing, I told her to get a scooter so she could shop, but she was too weak to sit for a long time, so she got an electric wheelchair instead, so she could scoot around her apartment and downstairs to eat meals and play bingo.. No, I don't know where it went when she died... I believe we donated it to a charity.

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