Published 11/03, Copyright 2003,

Super-Lows to the Rescue
-Mark E. Smith

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They aren't faster than a speeding bullet, or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound --   Super Man, they're not.  However, they can fit your knees under your desk, or ease board transfers - that is, super-low seating systems to the rescue!

Up until several years ago, if you needed a power tilt seating system for pressure relief on your powerchair, you had to give up a lower seat-to-floor height, likely sacrificing such environmental access necessities as fitting your knees under tables, or achieving appropriate transfer heights.  Along with power seating goes complex mechanisms - actuators and linkages - and they required considerable space above the powerbase, naturally increasing the seat-to-floor height by as much as 4".  The result was often a powerchair that was too high for some everyday applications.

With the evolution of mobility products in recent years, increasing emphasis has been placed on environmental integration, including reducing seat-to-floor heights.  It's no longer acceptable for power seating systems to merely provide pressure relief; rather, it's vital that they allow full function within one's daily living - hence, the expanded offerings of super-low seating systems.

Most often, there are two aspects to a super-low system:  the super-low seating, itself, and a modified powerbase.  The typical mode toward creating a super-low system is in seat mounting points that eliminate all excess space between the seat and powerbase, and then modifying the powerbase so that the seat actuators and linkages can drop within the powerbase.  The result, then, is not just a different seating system, but a different powerbase configuration, as well.  These alterations can affect suspension travel, battery capacity, or charger port locations, to name a few, so it's very important to fully understand exactly what changes may occur to the base specification of the powerchair you're ordering.

Questions to answer before ordering a super-low seating system:  

What is the exact seat-to-floor height?

If the seat-to-floor height turns out lower than you need once you have the chair, can it be raised?

What structural changes will be made to the powerbase?

Which size batteries will the system dictate?

Will the system restrict battery access?

Does the system feature center-of-gravity adjustments, both when tilting, as well as for mounting on the powerbase?

What's the weight capacity?

How much height will your seat cushion add to the seat-to-floor height?

Popular Super-Low Packages:
Powerbase / Seating System

Quickie P220 / Motion Concepts
Quickie S646 / Motion Concepts
Invacare 3G Storm / Motion Concepts
Invacare M91 / Motion Concepts
Invacare TDX / Motion Concepts
Jazzy 1420 / Motion Concepts
Jazzy 1121 / Motion Concepts
Jazzy 1122 / Tru-Balance
Blast Series / Tru- Balance

Manufacturer Links:
Motion Concepts

Quantum Rehab Tru-Balance

Alas, by doing a little product research, and asking insightful questions about your next power seating systems, you can roll lower than a dinning table, and transfer onto beds in a single bound!

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