CRT Technology Showcase
Quantum Rehab's Stretto: Slender Profile, No Compromise
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Jan 01, 2020
For every 36"-wide hallway encountered by ATPs
and clinicians during home assessments, there is a
much narrower hallway in a smaller, older house,
apartment, or mobile home. While it would be optimal for
power wheelchair users to live in wide-open spaces, the
reality is that wheelchair professionals need to meet their
clients where they are…
and where they live.
It’s a challenge familiar
to the clinical and
engineering teams at
Quantum Rehab, and
one they answered with
a new power wheelchair
called the Edge 3 Stretto.
Customizability in a
Stretto is Italian and translates
as narrow, close, or
tight. The Stretto’s width is
the first thing you’ll notice:
It’s 21" wide using 14" drive wheels, or 20.5" wide
with 12.5" drive wheels. That’s thanks to two NF22
batteries sitting inline, rather than side by side — and all
the better to maneuver well in tight spaces.
But a svelte figure is just the start of what the Stretto
offers, said Jay Brislin, VP of Quantum Rehab.
Quantum Rehab’s international R&D team floated the
idea of a power base with a narrow width that could
also traverse terrain and provide a high-quality ride. Did
Quantum’s North American team want to be involved?
“We said absolutely,” Brislin recalled. “Obviously, the
footprint intrigued us immediately. We felt the industry
really needed that kind of footprint. There are chairs that
have that footprint, but there aren’t chairs that have that
footprint and are in the Group 3 category. That makes
[the Stretto] a unique product. Now you’re looking at a
chair that can do two different drive wheel types, either
a 12.5" drive wheel or a 14" drive wheel.”
From the beginning, Brislin said, the Stretto’s calling
was also to have full-fledged Group 3 capabilities.
“We couldn’t put U1 batteries in it, because it wouldn’t
pass Group 3 criteria,” he explained. “So we used NF22
batteries, and we ran them in parallel so you were able
to get that narrow width at the base.”
The Stretto accepts full powered seating, from tilt and
recline to elevating legrests and iLevel, Quantum’s power
adjustable seat height. The Stretto can be driven at up to
3.5 mph while elevated 12".
“Anywhere from static seating all the way up to
multiple power,” Brislin said of the Stretto’s seating
compatibility. “Now you can do a full complex rehab
chair with this small base.”
But Not Just for Kids
Brislin acknowledged that the Stretto immediately brings
younger clients to mind.
“I think it gives us a solid, true pediatric base that can
be used for that population,” he said. “We’ve talked to
pediatric therapists around the country, and I think a lot
of them would say they have clients who should be in
power, but aren’t because of other factors. The family
has a problem looking at this large power chair and
seeing their child in it. The footprint of the Stretto shrinks
that, so you’re not putting small seating on a large base.
You’re putting small seating on a small base. That’s a big
thing from a peds perspective.
“You’re able to do all those power functions on a small
base. And 10" drive wheels don’t get you the performance
you would need; that’s why we did a 12.5" drive
wheel. It gives you the ability to be more aggressive
from a drive performance perspective, and the 14" drive
wheel takes it up a little bit more.”
But thinking of the Stretto as purely a kids’ chair would
short-change adult users.
“I don’t want to have this chair just put into the
pediatric category, because it transcends that, to the
adult population,” Brislin said. “This is basically the
little brother of the Edge 3 [power base]. But we’re still
using our Smooth Ride Suspension, the new suspension
from motocross racing that we put into our Edge 3. The
Stretto drives incredibly. I was impressed by how well it
handles [terrain] regardless of whether you have 12.5" drive wheels or 14s. The ability to climb, the ability to
manage terrain… just because it’s smaller doesn’t mean
Stretto has a 300-lb. weight capacity, which also speaks to its adult compatibility. “If you have an 18"-wide
seat and you don’t move the arms in, the arms are going
to be the widest point; they’re
going to go over the drive wheel,”
Brislin said. “But if you have a
16"-wide seat, or you have an 18" [seat width] and you move the
arms in, you’re going to fit within
the confines of that base. Think
of all the people who have 16" or
18" seats. Now that person who
lives in a mobile home or in an
assisted living situation can have
a rehab chair that can maneuver
around the environment.”
Brislin recalled an assessment
years ago for a client living
in a home with 23" wide hallways.
That client ended up in a
consumer power chair because
no complex rehab chair could fit through those hallways
and make the tight turns required to enter the bathroom.
“Stretto would have been the answer,” he said. “Now
you’ve got a chair that is 21" wide or less that you can
put full power positioning on. Now you have a rehab
chair that can go down this 23" hallway.
“That was the premise of the project. We didn’t want
it to do some of what the Edge 3 does; we wanted it to
do everything the Edge 3 does. I am pumped about this
chair; I think it solves a lot of problems that people run
into on a daily basis.”
And without compromise.
“Complex rehab in general is a give-and-take,” Brislin
said. It’s ‘Here are all the things my client needs,’ and
you boil that down to ‘What are the nice-to-haves, what
are the need-to-haves?’ I think this chair is going to help
solve some of these issues. It opens up a whole new
opportunity for a lot of people, and you’re not compromising.
That’s what I’m really happy about.”
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.