The manual wheelchair may be a useful tool for some, but it is not a perfect fit for everyone who needs it. Because of this, a number of injuries have occurred for its users. To prevent users from suffering those injuries, someone who experienced using the manual chair decided to give it an upgrade.
Rimas Buinevicius was using a traditional manual wheelchair when his leg was fractured. After experiencing the difficulty of maneuvering the mobility device, he realized that injuries can occur with prolonged use of the chair. So he decided to redesign it and make a few adjustments.
Buinevicius teamed up with Rowheels to redesign or reinvent the manual wheelchair. The partnership aimed to upgrade the traditional manual chair in order to reduce injuries and other harmful effects on users caused by prolonged use.
In order to move forward, the conventional manual chair needs its wheels to be pushed forward. The repetitive motion and the physical exertion can cause injury to the users especially to the rotator cuff, a group of tendons and muscles that surround the shoulder joint. RSI, or repetitive strain injury, and pain could result to using the manually operated chair for a long period of time.
Buinevicius and Rowheels focused on reducing these injuries to manual wheelchair users. They made a number of adjustments to achieve this. And so, the Rev1 wheel was born.
The way Rowheels Rev1 wheels work is similar to the mechanism of rowing a boat. The users pull the wheels back and towards the body in order to move forward, instead of pushing it forward. With this method, there is lesser strain on the upper body, arms and shoulders, as well as physical exertion. Rev1 wheels are designed to retrofit a wide array of wheelchair sizes and designs so users do not need to buy new chairs.
Rowheels began its work three years ago. The Fitchburg-based company invested their time, effort and budget in refining the wheels’ design, sourcing the needed parts and testing the prototypes. They even bagged the award in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Competition.
Today, Buinevicius and Rowheels are manufacturing the Rev1 and shipping the products. With these wheels, individuals using manually operated wheelchairs will no longer worry about getting shoulder injuries, experiencing pain and strain, and exerting more physical effort.