The first wheelchairs were
self-powered and worked by a person turning the wheels of their chair manually.
If they were unable to do this, they would rely on someone to push the
wheelchair to bring them around. This often led to a loss of independence and a
feeling of hopeless by the person. I strongly believe that the electric
wheelchair has been the most influential Canadian invention, not only in my
life, but those of many people.
The first electric-powered wheelchair was conceptualized by Canadian inventor,
George Klein. Klein was born on August 15th, 1904 in Hamilton,
Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto and had a strong passion for the
advancement of medical technology. Klein, alongside his team of engineers, were
working for the National Research Council of Canada in a program to help
injured veterans returning after World War II. Many attempts to invent a
motorized wheelchair were made as far back as 1916, however, no successful
commercial production occurred at that time. Klein considered the project to be
the most rewarding of his career and he is recognized today as the most
productive inventor in Canada in the 20th century.
Being independent is a trait that is often overlooked. Many people enjoy the
company of others but never want to feel helpless and dependent on others.
A few years ago, I fractured my foot and I was in a non-motorized wheelchair
for a few hours before I received my cast and crutches. Those few hours felt
like days and I felt powerless not being able to successfully move around. I relied
on my parents to bring me to the bathroom and even get something to eat. CONTINUEEEE This temporary
impairment gave me a greater appreciation for the advancement of wheelchair
technology. The electric
wheelchair is more than an invention. It is the key that unlocks the door to
maintaining an individual’s independence and promotes mobility.
Research is fundamental to the advancement of any invention. The electric
wheelchair was originally designed for injured war veterans and has been
modified throughout the years and now caters to people of all ages and all
sizes. I am amazed to see that Klein’s invention has been developed immensely through research in order to help
a greater population. Research is of key importance to any field, especially
thus of the medical field. Medical research and the provision of medical care go
hand in hand with one another as profound research results in thorough service.
There are numerous diseases that we have yet to find a cure for, such as cystic
fibrosis and various forms of cancer. Only through medical research will we be
able to become more knowledgeable, in order to provide superior medical care to others.