Power assist system with new tracking device is most advanced on the global market claims Permobil
Permobil has released a new version of its SmartDrive MX2+ with PushTracker wheelchair power assist system, which it claims is the “most advanced wheelchair power assist system on the global market.”
Power assist devices offer an alternative means of propulsion for manual wheelchair users, providing extra power to help reduce the risks of repetitive strain injuries and enabling users to keep their wheelchairs without having to make the transition a powerchair.
A rapidly growing segment of the manual wheelchair market, the devices are proving popular with end-users and with mobility retailers, offering a lucrative ancillary product to provide to wheelchair-purchasing customers.
The growth of the segment has seen a number of new players enter the market with various different power add-ons in recent years, including TGA Mobility’s powerpacks, the UNAwheel, Benoit System’s Light Drive and Todo Drive Power Assist.
In December 2017, Swedish-supplier Permobil entered the power assist market following its acquisition of MAX Mobility, adding the USA-based company’s SmartDrive MX2+ with PushTracker system to Permobil’s portfolio.
Described it as one of the most advanced power assist solutions available at the time, the system included the SmartDrive motor and accompanying PushTracker activity monitor.
Attaching to the back of the user’s wheelchair and with a built-in battery, the SmartDrive weighs just over 12 pounds and can provide power for miles on a single charge.
Connecting to the SmartDrive to enable users to customise the device to their desired specifications, including changing its mode of operation, tap sensitivity and top speed, the wrist-worn PushTracker device also enables users to track their activity, such as push count and coast time.
The system includes a free smartphone app, with all devices interconnecting via Bluetooth to provide in-depth, day-to-day metrics, helping users to further customise their SmartDrive to better meet their needs.
Building on the power assist system, Permobil has now released a new version of its PushTracker called the Pushtracker E2, with the new gesture-controlled wrist-worn device boasting a modern smartwatch app.
According to Permobil, the new PushTracker E2 has been designed to be durable to keep up with user’s active lifestyles, boasting an easy-to-read touchscreen to make changing SmartDrive settings easier.
With users able to now simply tap the wheel to start the SmartDrive as well, the company says the device’s gesture-activated control feature means there is no pushing or reaching necessary to start the system.
Permobil’s Ben Hemkens, Director of Operations for Power Assist, commented: “As with all of our solutions, the SmartDrive PushTracker E2 was developed with the user in mind. Manual wheelchair users push their chairs thousands of times per day, which can lead to serious shoulder strain. With SmartDrive PushTracker E2, it’s one tap on the push rims and you’re going.”
In addition to the upgraded PushTracker, SwitchControl (formerly known as the thumb throttle) is now a no-charge option included with every SmartDrive. The feature, which can be used in conjunction with the PushTracker or by itself, enables users to engage the SmartDrive at the push of a button for a momentary burst of power or activated in latched mode for consistent power over extended distances.
Promising users greater performance, control and user-friendliness than the original SmartDrive control device, the new SmartDrive and PushTracker system was first unveiled in September at the International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition (H.C.R.) 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.
The new power assist range is available in the UK.
To find out more about the upgraded SmartDrive system, check out the video below: