What's New in Manual Wheelchair Technology?

Published August 6, 2020

Manual wheelchair innovation knows no bounds, it seems. From SafariSeat, which is designed for people in developing countries, the innovative propulsion system in Ezy-wheels, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Here are five wheelchair and wheelchair accessory makers who are innovating the space.


This company recently entered the everyday wheelchair space after years as one of the leading manufacturers of rugby chairs, which are built to withstand the banging and crashing that comes with the intense hits delivered in that sport. The new consumer models are lighter and sleeker than the rugby models, but they preserve the same low-slung design and precision welding that have been Vesco’s trademark. Check out Vesco

Box Wheelchairs

Box’s suspension design, which is built to cushion impact and make transferring in and out easier for users, has made its chairs a favorite of performance athletes. Among its customers are wheelchair daredevil Aaron Fotheringham, who favors the custom-made Box design for his flying backflips and other gravity-defying feats. Check out Box Wheelchairs

Batec Mobility

The Batec Mobility team, located in Spain, sells manual and electric front ends that are meant to help manual wheelchair users traverse more easily. Batec says its design removes the need for wheel pushing and third-party support on rough terrain. Batec has models created specifically for individuals with quadriplegia with technology that lifts the front end of the chair to ease issues that come with small front casters. The company recently told how its technology is helping wheelchair users become more active as pandemic restrictions lift. Check out Batec Mobility

Freewheel Attachment

In a similar vein, Freewheel lifts the front end of a user’s everyday chair to reduce the risk of getting stuck. Its attachment creates, in effect, an all-terrain third front wheel that can enable users to shift from pavement to grass and even ride on unpaved dirt terrain. The attachment can be stored quickly on the back of the chair when not in use. Check out FreeWheel Attachment

Permobil SmartDrive

Permobil — a trio of companies that also includes everyday wheelchair brand TiLite and cushion manufacturer ROHO — sells this power-assist device meant to "power you up steep hills and through thick carpet." While not technically a manual wheelchair enhancement, it’s meant to make it easier for users of manual wheelchairs to push through tough terrain as well as to ease the stress on their arms. There’s even a mobile app that reports activity statistics designed to promote good health and reduce demand on the upper body. Check out Permobil SmartDrive

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