The Softwheel shock-absorbing wheelchair. The Softwheel shock-absorbing wheelchair. The Softwheel shock-absorbing wheelchair. (Photo: Courtesy)

Company to provide shock-absorbing wheelchairs for U.S. veterans

The chairs ease users over rough terrain, ensuring better performance and a smoother ride.

Standard-issue manual wheelchairs do a great job of preserving people's mobility and independence, but there's one thing they haven't quite mastered: shock absorption.

SoftWheel, a technology company in Israel, is hoping to change that. The Tel Aviv-based company produces wheels with a flexible shock-absorption system to ease users over rough terrain.

And they just inked a deal to provide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs with thousands of wheelchairs equipped with SoftWheel's technology to military veterans.

SoftWheel will partner with U.S.-based wheelchair manufacturer Ki Mobility to provide the chairs. Vets can request the SoftWheel-fitted chairs through the VA and receive reimbursement for the chairs' $2,500 cost.

So what makes SoftWheel's product so much better than standard wheelchair wheels? It's all about the adaptive suspension system built directly into the wheel.

The wheel can be fitted into any wheelchair. The wheel can be fitted into any wheelchair. (Photo: Courtesy)

“The suspension arms are rigid when they go over flat services,’ said Ahishay Sardes, CTO of SoftWheel. “They activate as shock absorbers only when an obstacle is encountered. This enables the rider to go over bumps, such as sidewalk curbs, in a more stable and secure manner.”

In layman's terms, that means it takes the bumps – from everyday obstacles to feats of adventure – so you don't have to.

In addition to the wheelchair deal, the company is also working on suspension technology for the bicycle and automotive industries.

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