Wheelchairs star in TV show: 'The effect is life changing'

Friday, November 30, 2007

One of the hottest tech shows on TV, PBS's "Wired Science," singled out an Invacare sports wheelchair and Pride Mobility power chairs as examples of cool technology that's changing people's lives. The show, Hot Wheels, ran Oct. 17
"This builds awareness," said Pride's vice president of design and advanced technology, Walt Clark, who appeared on the show. "A lot of people just think of wheelchairs as basic manual wheelchairs and have no idea that people play sports in them or could do the kinds of things that can be done in some rehab power chairs."
Host Ziya Tong interviewed engineers, researchers and developers at Invacare, Pride and the University of South Florida "who are designing chairs nimble and light enough for basketball, fencing...even ballet." Tong spent a good amount of time interviewing Paul Schulte, a Top End design engineer at Invacare, who happens to be a renowned basketball player.
"The overall positive effect from a show like that is life changing," Schulte said. "People are told they need to live an active lifestyle, but when they see a role model and they see equipment, that gets them fired up to go do something."
The show impressed one viewer, who offered this online comment: "I was glad to see that proper attention, long over due, was being given to the improvement of the wheelchair. I have recently had to add a wheelchair to my life...Its lack of versatility with various everyday city terrains is quite frustrating. So it gives me hope to see these advancements taking place."