Today's blog is written by Rachel Maher, our clinical education specialist in Australia.
Actuators are used on power wheelchairs to make the seat move – so it is an actuator that makes a seat move back into tilt, or the back support recline, or the leg supports elevate. A smart actuator is an actuator that has a sensor attached to it, allowing it to sense its position in space. A smart actuator is able to sense its position at any point between being fully retracted or fully extended, or for example whether the seat is in no tilt, or in 15 degrees of tilt, or 45 degrees, as opposed to being in no tilt, or full tilt.
It is easy to look at the F5 Corpus VS and be in awe of its ability to transition someone from sitting to standing with smoothness and grace. While the flagship chair of the Permobil line is amazing in all capacities we cannot overlook the lessons we have learned in the last 43 years of manufacturing standing power wheelchairs. What you all know as the F5 Corpus VS was a lifelong journey of love, dedication, and the drive to give our end users the same technological advantages that we all use in our everyday lives
Lesson #1: End users need a full range of power seat functions
While the first Permobil standing power wheelchair in 1977 was innovative, we quickly discovered that compromising other power seat functions to achieve our goal was not ideal. From only utilizing recline and power leg movements, to limiting tilt to 25 degrees in the 1980’s and 90’s, we learned that asking our end users to give up key components of their seating system would not best meet their needs. In 2004, with the introduction of the Permobil Combi, we accomplished our goal of giving our power wheelchair end users full power seat functions and did away with the “either/or” option. Our standing wheelchair has continued to evolve into what we know today as the F5 Corpus VS.