This new power-assist device powers manual wheelchairs up hills and ramps as well as through thick carpet to reduce the propulsion effort needed. An anti-rollback feature enables the wheelchair user to stop on a hill, then easily start moving forward again. To use SmartDrive, push to go and brake to stop: A faster push will make the chair move more quickly; a slower push will make the chair move more slowly. SmartDrive weighs 19 lbs. total (8 lbs. for the battery, 11 lbs. for the motor) and installs easily (battery goes under the seat; motor attaches to a hitch on the back of the chair). Can be used on folding- or rigid-frame chairs.
An ATP & Clinician Best Pick of 2014:
Innovative, lightweight power assist for a manual wheelchair user who is capable of independent propulsion, but is limited by pain, fatigue or upper-extremity issues. User controls the cruise speed of the SmartDrive by the speed of the push, varying from 1/2 to 5 1/2 mph. Requires the user to have reasonable fine-motor or wrist movement to activate/deactivate the power button. This product is applicable to decrease pain and increase functional distances for a manual wheelchair user.
- Lois Brown, MPT, ATP/SMS