Veterans Affairs

Stand-up wheelchair

Increases independence and quality of life

Medical & Biotechnology

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have recently invented a wheelchair capable of transitioning the user from a seated position to a standing position. The patented technology is available via patent license agreement to companies that would make, use, or sell it commercially.

Standing wheelchairs are often simple systems that elevate a user from a seated position to a semi-standing position when the wheelchair is stopped. Conventional designs have several limitations and lack the following desired features:

  1. A manual propulsion system that maintains a relatively constant arm position for users as they propel the wheelchair.
  2. A lightweight, variable speed solution that can offer both seated and standing movement in forward, reverse, and turning directions.
  3. Retractable front wheels that can retract for ground clearance when in seated operation.
  4. Narrowly inset wheels with auto-tensioned drive systems that permit users to traverse narrow doorways.

Researchers have developed a manual standing wheelchair that addresses the limitations of prior systems. The system shown in the image allows for a standing position during the course of mobile use, permits the user to traverse narrow entrances and doorframes, and allows the user to have improved access in front for elevated surfaces such as countertops.

The uniquely shaped design utilizes a four-bar linkage system in which the back, seat, and lower extremity support sections comprise three of the four links. The fourth link is an anti-rotation link which maintains alignment of the back support section with the lower extremity support section.

The transition between sitting and standing is accomplished through the additional usage of an actuator. The drive system between the user propulsion wheels and the ground drive wheels is a belt that allows the user to manually operate the wheelchair while in either a sitting or standing position.

A multiple speed, fixed-gear hub designed for bicycles provides direct couplings between the propulsion wheels and the hub, and forward and reverse cranking so that propulsion wheels may be used for forward, reverse, and rotational movement.

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