CRT Technology Showcase

Quantum Rehab's Stretto: Slender Profile, No Compromise

StrettoFor 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 Svelte Package

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.

Stretto back view“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 it compromises.”

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.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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