Hand controls that let paraplegics use a manual transmission

Written by lynda lanford
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Hand controls that let paraplegics use a manual transmission
Hand controls enable paraplegic drivers to experience driving a manual transmission. (Silver sportscar image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com)

In 1988, a shifting control for a manual transmission received its patent. This device is equipped with a clutch pedal and accelerator so that those without use of their legs can operate both the clutch and accelerator with the left hand. The device features a means to accelerate from an idle by releasing the clutch, as well as to decelerate to an idle. Some paraplegic drivers prefer to operate a manual transmission for a sporty car or even to experience the thrill of auto racing. Several designs for hand controls are available in today's market.

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Galbreath Mobility

Galbreath Mobility is headquartered in New Castle, Pennsylvania. The company manufactures a hand clutch and brake control that adapts to a standard transmission. The control not only performs clutch and brake functions but also contains the horn and dimmer switch controls. To brake or clutch, the driver pushes the handle forward. The driver uses her right leg to control the accelerator. The company also provides a gear lever control that is operated with the left hand.

Family Village

The Family Village company is located in Binghamton, New York. The company manufactures a hand control called the Drivematic along with a left-hand gear shifter. Family Village provides a design that is both reliable and safe. To switch from the Drivematic system back to the manual clutch, the driver simply flips a switch on the dashboard and the system disengages. Family Village states that Drivematic is also enjoyed by people who have full use of their lower extremities but wish to experience the convenience of a hand control.

Beneficial Designs

Beneficial Designs is a company that is headquartered in Minden, Nevada. For its hand control, Beneficial Design created a unique design that utilises a motorcycle throttle mounted to the steering wheel. The driver turns the throttle clockwise to engage the clutch and counterclockwise to engage the accelerator. The driver shifts with the right hand. The driver can operate the manual transmission with this hand control as smoothly as a typical foot pedal.

Mobility Products

Mobility Products and Design is located in Winamac, Indiana. The company's Hand Control model 3501 allows the operation of brake and clutch. This device, made of aluminium alloy, attaches to the steering column and controls both pedals without interfering with the vehicle's operation. The device also operates the horn and dimmer switch. A gear shifter operated with the left hand is also available from Mobility Products.

Kliktronic, Ltd.

The Kliktronic company is headquartered in Suffolk, England. Kliktronic produces an electric shifter that works for motorcycles or automobiles with motorcycle engines. This is a push button device that can be mounted under or on the handlebars of a motorcycle, and in an automobile is attached to the steering wheel.

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