Sep-Oct 2006

A revolutionary all-terrain wheelchair is bound to open a new world for disabled

British-based Mike Spindle, a long-time designer of Formula One parts, has taken five years to develop a revolutionary wheelchair – a three-wheeled, carbon-fibre monocoque, all-terrain wheelchair called the K-2, that is bound to open up previously inaccessible areas of the countryside for mobility-disabled people to explore.

It may even lead to the development of new sporting pursuits, such as wheelchair-driven off-road, cross-country racing. Spindle is the managing director of British company Trekinetic, established to develop and market the K-2.

He told BBC News the tubular chassis used by most wheelchairs is comparable to the one found on vintage cars, which inspired him to improve the design. “In fields of engineering such as F1, they have dispensed with the chassis idea and gone to what they call a monocoque,” he said.

A monocoque is basically a very strong shell on to which all the components are bolted. The monocoque design with body-contoured seat for comfort is just one facet of the innovative design of the K-2. It has only three wheels. It offers a very smooth ride supported by a nitrogen shock absorber system.

The wheel camber can be adjusted up to 24 degrees without tools. It has a dynamic braking system. It is light, comprising T6 aerospace aluminium components and folds up easily for storage. It has an universal socket for a weather-proofing umbrella and other optional accessories.

One of the key differences compared to conventional wheelchairs is that it is front-wheel driven with two large front wheels fitted with off-road tyres and push rims, and a single rear trailing castor wheel. This unique three-wheel set-up provides excellent stability and the ability to negotiate uneven or off-road terrain.

“Kids with cerebral palsy have sat in the chair, laid their hands on the wheels and instinctively started to propel themselves forward,” Spindle told Middle East Health. “This despite never being able to do this in a conventional chair – and being told by their occupational therapists that they will never be able to propel themselves.

It was a memorable moment for us and an emotional one for parents.” The user operates the dynamic braking system for slowing down and steering via two hand levers.

These levers can also lock the chair when stationary. Inclement weather protection comes in the form of an attachable automatic umbrella, which is stored discreetly on the back of the chair when not in use.

Access to the chair is from the front and the footrest retracts to ease entry. A transfer plate for drivers is available. The wheels have a toolfree, easily adjustable camber so that the chair can have a slimmer profile for going through doorways and a wider, more stable, 24- degree camber for outdoor activities.

At its slimmest, the K-2 is 710mm wide and at its broadest, 870mm wide. Folding the chair is easy. The quick release wheels are simply removed by detaching the quick release clevis at the back and folding up the rear assembly.

Then just slide up the telescopic footrest and it’s done. No tools or tightening is required. The chair can be placed in a car against a seat and secured by the seatbelt. Folding or unfolding by an able bodied person takes about eight seconds.

The folded chair assembly, without the wheels weighs around nine kilogrammes. Spindle said he thought medical professionals wanting to recommend the wheelchair for their patients would be most interested to know that the K-2 has:
* a body form seat
* a user reclinable seat
* more efficient propulsion
from the front wheel drive layout, utilising a different muscle group The K-2 All Terrain was launched in the United Kingdom in July this year.

Currently it is only available through the UK, but Spindle said he is looking for representative companies who are experienced in the mobility market. Although relatively new on the market, this revolutionary wheelchair is making waves around the world. “In August,” Spindle said, “We sold a K-2 to gentleman from Dubai, who came to London specifically to try it.”

Display stand forms new benchmark for multi-monitor use

Netherlands-based Ergotron has released the new LX Dual and Triple Display Lift Stands, the first multimonitor desk stands on the market to provide intandem fingertip height and tilt adjustability.

The LX Dual and Triple Display Lift Stands easily mount respectively two and three displays on a single base, while providing 13 cm of smooth height adjustability and 20 degree forward/back tilt capability.

Powered by patented CFTM (Constant Force) lift and pivot motion technology the stands provide effortless height adjustment along the whole range without the need to use knobs or levers to secure the displays at the right height.

Each display can also be rotated 90 degrees, supporting full portrait/landscape applications such as digital video and photography editing, desktop graphics and design generation.

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Multidimensional surgical imaging

The O-arm by Breakaway Imaging combines the best features of a traditional carm with an intra-operative 3D scanner – for unparalleled surgical imaging.

The system offers:
- 3D, multi-plane 2D and fluoroscopic imaging capability
- Lateral patient access without compromising mobility
- Faster imaging with reduced dosage through robotically-controlled realtime and preset positioning
- Fast 3D reconstruction displays axial,coronal, sagittal views in seconds
- Patented telescoping gantry section enables lateral patient access
- Enclosed gantry system maintains sterile field, safety
- Iso-Wag iso-centric positioning eliminates need to reposition gantry for offaxis imaging
- High-precision robotics for real-time and preset positioning, as well as selfpropulsion
- 2K x 1.5K digital flat panel detector enables higher dynamic range and higher spatial resolution for greater accuracy
- Desired “park” and imaging positions can be preset, resulting in lower dose and faster imaging
- Multi-plane imaging eliminates manual repositioning and need for a second system

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New pulse oximeter good for all patient categories

Mediaid is offering the new Desktop Pulse Oximeter M960P with Waveform, Non- Invasive Blood Pressure and Temperature ideal for monitoring any patient category from neonates to adults.

The new M960P features:
- Bright, high resolution LCD screen to display the Pleth Waveform as well as the SpO2 and Pulse Rate readings
- Separate bright Led displays for systolic, diastolic and mean Blood Pressure readings
- Built-in printer facility for printing reports immediately Accurate BP readings in less than 40 seconds
- Nurse call facility that alerts the nurse station in case of emergency
- Connectivity to other life saving equipment
- 24 hours Patient Data storage and trend data Patient data transfer to a computer
- 5 different languages option for easy access to clinicians across the world
- Software for patient data analysis

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Kodak launches mobile X-ray/CR

Eastman Kodak Company has introduced an integrated portable Xray/ computed radiography system for mobile medical imaging applications. The compact Kodak Point-of-Care CRITX 560 System delivers excellent image quality and an efficient digital workflow for a wide range of facilities that conduct standard bedside diagnostic X-ray imaging, including intensive care units, clinics, nursing homes and hospitals of all sizes.

The integrated system features a shared user interface and power source. The CR-ITX 560 processes up to 60 images an hour and supports multiple plate sizes. Images are available for review in just 38 seconds on the system’s touch screen monitor. The system can acquire up to 100 images on a single battery charge. The system is DICOM compatible and can operate over a wireless network.

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The Celsius Control System

The Celsius Control System, by Innercool, provides physicians with a state-of-the-art, endovascular technology that can safely and rapidly lower patient body temperature, precisely maintain a chosen target temperature and rewarm patients to normothermic levels. Potential clinical applications for this system such as inducing mild hypothermia in surgery, stroke and heart attack or for temperature control in surgical and critical care procedures.

The system is approved for clinical use in the US and Europe.

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