Imagine traveling alone knowing that you have a long distance to travel or wanting to explore your neighborhood but knowing that trying to get up the hills or navigate through the park would be too much of a challenge in your manual wheelchair by yourself. Now there is a new product on the market allowing manual wheelchair users to solve those long distance challenges and tackle difficult terrains – the Firefly!
Just like its name suggests, the Firefly is an attachment that connects to the front of a manual wheelchair, giving you the freeing mobility for the long distances that will help save your arms from pushing. The Firefly works like an electric bike that turns your wheelchair into an electric scooter!
Developed by Rio Mobility in San Francisco, the Firefly has the ability to reach up to 30km per hour, giving you much more increased speed compared to pushing your wheelchair manually. Imagine the fatigue you’ll avoid and the distances you could cover, reaching your destination faster than ever.
Some great advantages to using the Firefly:
- Increased speed.
- More flexibility to travel longer distances.
- Ease of use.
- Little assistance required to use the firefly with your own wheelchair.
- It has a small turning radius allowing for ease of use indoors and in tight spaces as well as for long distances outdoors.
How does the Firefly actually work?
You can mount the Firefly to your chair quickly and easily. The attachment comes with a “kickstand” on each side of the front wheel to keep the attachment upright as you wheel your chair up close to it. There are two horizontal mounting bars that easily lock onto the front bars of your chair that extend down to your foot pedals. The user can then flip back a pivoting bar that once attached to the front bar of your chair, lifts the front wheels of your chair off the ground, transforming your wheelchair into the “scooter-like” design. Now you’re ready to go!
The attachment is driven much like a bicycle or motorcycle with hand controls including hand breaks on both sides. You can steer your chair easily by moving the handlebars from side to side. One of the downsides of this design is of course for those who may have limited arm mobility or shorter arms that are unable to reach or control the handlebar design.
Watch a demo of how the Firefly works with an actual wheelchair user here: