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How did wheelchair mobility become to mean what it does today?
Wheelchair mobility is the ability to get around with the use of a wheelchair or power-driven device to help improve the lives of individuals without the capability to walk. Wheelchair mobility can be increased in many different ways. Throughout history, mobility has been improved significantly for those that don't have the capability to walk in what is known today as wheelbarrows.
The first self-propelled wheelchair was invented in the 17th century in Europe by an unknown inventor for King Philip II so he could move around his castle. It was later picked up by others and they became more common for wealthy people with disabilities to use. In 1655 a disabled German watchmaker, Stephan Farfler created a wheelchair with three wheels two rear wheels and one in front. The front wheel was attached to a rotary handle that could be propelled to gain movement.
The wheelchair was seen as a method of transportation because they were big and heavy. Thanks to technology lightweight wheelchairs have been created using lighter materials yet durable to ensure the wheelchairs can withstand the client's weight and not break. The materials used play a major role in improving mobility because due to the lightweight materials used wheelchairs do not have to be as big. Since wheelchairs are smaller people are able to use them indoors to get around their homes which oftentimes have narrow walkways. With the invention of different types of wheels, people have gained more mobility because they are able to go over all types of surfaces other than flat surfaces like dirt, pebbles, sand, and grass.
Electrical wheelchairs have also been a game changer in gaining mobility for wheelchair users who don't have the strength to propel themselves around. With the use of a joystick controller, they are able to direct the wheelchair where they want. This has also been of importance because it's allowed any wheelchair users to become more independent. With the use of a wheelchair they are able to complete tasks like going to the store and purchasing groceries, or simply get to further distances locations.
With the invention of new technology, wheelchair users are able to gain access to locations they didn’t have access to. Inventions like wheelchairs that fold very compact or detachable wheels from the frame help wheelchair users travel in smaller cars without having to worry about their equipment. Materials used that help ventilate heat created by body heat being released during sitting long periods of time have been important in building mobility. These type of materials help reduce the moisture that can cause health problems or infections. For wheelchair users that need to be sitting long periods of time have gained a significant amount of mobility because they aren’t as limited to the time they can use a wheelchair.