Report: Power-Assist Market Worth $328 Million by 2017

Improved manufacturing efficiencies and economies of scale will elevate the value of the power-assist manual wheelchair market to nearly $328 million a little more than five years from now, a new report says., a company that collects research related to a variety of industries, said the power-assist market was valued at $109.1 million in 2010.

An announcement about the power-assist market research report said demand for power-assist technology will grow as improved manufacturing processes lower the cost of the devices, a factor that will also make the technology more attractive.

Susan Ellis, the primary author of the study, said, "Using the assist wheels instead of pushing all the time improves the effort ratio... One push with a geared wheel equals three pushes. The arms do not tire out, and people can go further distances."

In explaining the importance of power-assist technology, the report also cited the potential value of self-propulsion as a form of exercise, and pointed out that power wheelchairs - often substituted for manual chairs when users are "faced with propulsion problems" - are difficult to transport because of their larger sizes and because many power chair models do not fold.

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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