Disability, according to the World Health Organization, is defined as "...an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives."
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness (physiological or physical), injury, or disability.
The earliest record of wheelchairs dates back to the 6th century, as an inscription found on a stone slate in China. Later dates relate to Europeans using this technology during the German Renaissance. Harry Jennings and his disabled friend Herbert Everest, both mechanical engineers, invented the first lightweight, steel, collapsible wheelchair in 1933. Mr Everest had broken his back in a mining accident. The two saw the business potential of the invention and went on to become the first mass-manufacturers of wheelchairs: Everest and Jennings. Their "x-brace" design is still in common use, albeit with updated materials and other improvements.
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