Smartdrive MX2+ – Wheelchair Attachment

(Based on the users needs, lifestyle and preferences.)

Item Description:

The SmartDrive MX2+ is a rear power add-on for manual wheelchairs. It provides users with additional power, enabling them to travel/propel further than if they were entirely reliant on their own strength. To turn on the SmartDrive you simply double tap the smartwatch it comes with and the unit will start accelerating, then single tap to lock in the speed you want, and finally double tap to turn the SmartDrive off. It also comes with a switch button that you can attach to your frame and use instead of the watch.

Battery Life:
Around 6 Hours Of Intermittent Use.

Source of Item:

Lifestyle & Mobility

Personal Opinion:
The SmartDrive is almost fantastic. The concept is amazing and it has opened up the world around me, something no other device has done for me. Unlike other power add-ons, it is lightweight and easy to attach/detach from the rear of your chair (once you have the knack). It immediately allowed me to independently post a letter for the first time in years. To go into town with a friend who didn’t have to push me once, which was a first in my 6 years of wheelchair use. To no longer worry about being stranded as I did before. I truly would not be without it.

It is designed for solid level ground rather than offroading, but I have found it can handle small hills and grass just fine. The battery life of the unit is around 6 hours of intermittent use which is more than enough for me to spend a day out somewhere.

However, the SmartDrive has one big downside, which is the smartwatch you use to control it. It sucks, to put it bluntly. The battery life is about 2 hours while the SmartDrive’s is about 6, so it runs out far too quickly. It is also massively inaccurate and frequently starts when you don’t want it to and disengages at random moments. The whole experience is frustrating, to say the least, not to mention dangerous when it suddenly launched me into the road at an ever-increasing speed. To new users, I would say don’t even bother with the watch and just use the button to control it. This is because the buttons are connected to the main unit with a wire rather than relying on Bluetooth like the watch, which makes them 100x more reliable.

It attaches to most chairs via a bracket mounted on the axle, which only took a few minutes to install. The main unit then hooks over this bracket. It’s worth noting that this involves a lot of crouching down until you get the hang of it, which I found difficult. I have also not been able to master attaching or detaching the device whilst sitting in my chair.

Additionally, to lift the chair up a few steps you need to detach the SmartDrive otherwise it swings, which means I can find myself constantly detaching and reattaching it, especially when going into a series of inaccessible venues.

Another frustration is that if you want to change your speed, you have to stop and start again rather than be able to change it whilst you’re moving. It can also be a bumpy ride. The rollers that allow the SmartDrive omnidirectional movement is not uniform like a tyre, which makes for an uneven ride that is most noticeable on a really flat surface like a supermarket. If you want to limit vibrations, then the SmartDrive might not be the product for you.

Overall SmartDrive has enabled me to independently access the world around me and I am very grateful for it. However, for the high price tag, I would have expected the user experience to be more seamless than it is.




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