This Device Just Made Wheelchairs Obsolete

The young man in this video looks like he's riding a Segway. But Yusuf Adturkoglu was paralysed after falling from a horse five years ago, and he's being mobilised by an amazing device invented by Turkish scientists.

It's called the Tek Robotic Mobilisation Device, and it not only allows people who can't walk get around more independently than any device has before, but it also helps them stand up on their own, which is crucial for maintaining basic health functions in people who have spinal cord injuries.

Crucial Standing Assistance

Instead of entering from the front like a normal wheelchair, people using the Tek RMD enter from the back of the device. That way they don't have to hoist themselves with a momentum that can be dangerous and is next to impossible to do alone. By attaching a thick padded strap around the hips, Yusuf manoeuvres himself into the Tek RMD on his own. The device uses a suspension system that balances the weight so he can stand up with just a gentle pull. Standing for an hour or more every day is important for people who have lost movement in their legs; without the weight-bearing effect of standing, they can develop cardiovascular problems, brittle bones, pressure sores not to mention the psychological importance of eye-to-eye interpersonal contact.

Independence

In the video, Yusuf calls the device to his bedside with a remote-control, gets himself out of bed, goes grocery shopping, manoeuvres around a bookshop, and even does some things in the bathroom that we thankfully don't observe to completion. But these these abilities that most of us take for granted every day are key to the emotional well-being of paraplegic people. The ability to squat down and easily come back to standing is key. And while standing, Yusef's hands are free to carry groceries or do whatever else he might need them to.

Smallest Dimensions

The makers of Tek RMD says it's the most compact device of its kind, which allows Yusuf to navigate crowded grocery aisles, libraries, and who knows, Coachella, maybe? All without knocking into the people and things around him. Users still need ramps in place of stairs, but the device eliminates the need for special bathroom stalls and other facilities that allow space for bulky wheelchairs.

The Tek RMD comes in five sizes and is still undergoing clinical trials. Here's hoping it's on the market stat. [Tek RMD and Reuters]


Comments

    Lots of people use wheelchairs for a lot of different reasons, and I can't see this device working for more than a small fraction of those cases. I don't think this will eliminate the need for special bathroom stalls and the like.

    The only real drawback I can see with this, is the inability to traverse from different levels, IE: stairs etc. It would be interesting to see what possible users think of it?

      good thing someone invented ramps and elevators.

        One,.. not all buildings have wheelchair access
        Two,.. Most ramps are designed for wheelchairs, which have a large tyre, not tiny little wheels with absolutely no clearance.
        and three,.. Good luck getting this thing in and out of any vehicle.
        Oh,.. four, please leave uneducated smarmy comments at the door, thank you..

          It wasn't at all "uneducated" or "smarmy". This is an invention to replace the wheelchair, and Timmahh claimed that it was a poor replacement, as it could not use stairs etc. This was an invalid point, as wheelchairs are also unable to perform such tasks. If anything, the "uneducated" comment was Timmahh's. Hazza's comment, pointing out this fact, was completley justified.

          Also, wheelchairs HAVE "tiny little wheels with absolutely no clearance", right there at the front. If they really WERE a problem, then NO wheelchairs would be able to use ramps, by your logic.

          Good day sir.

    I wonder how heavy it is, and what the sidewys balance is like. But either way, this is an execellent invention.

    Notice how their was no video of the device outside of a building? Looking at the circumference of the wheels i would bet it could not last for trips down a path to the shops. Not only would battery power be a problem, however paths have these things called cracks. Hit a large enough crack or miss aligned path and you would fall over.

      Was thinking the same thing. Those wheels are tiny, but then again they're no smaller (AFAIK) than the front wheels of a standard wheelchair.

    I really don't think it will challenge wheelchairs, it has some serious mobility issues. Still, it is a nice freedom enabler on flat ground!

    I saw a fellow recently who had a Segway with a seat attached to use as an electric wheelchair. Maneuverability was great and the elevated seat, something like a bicycle saddle with a backrest from memory, put him up at a normal standing height so he could easily interact with everyone around. Best use for a Segway ever!

    Stick some well-designed pivoting tank treads on this and you'll have an all-terrain solution that will also be able to mount and dismount stairs and other everyday obstacles.

    Very cool! The only drawback I see is the pink tshirt.

    A headline like that and you haven't even taken cost into consideration, I'm assuming these things don't come cheap.

    Whack a plunger on his forehead and you've got a Dalek

    This clip gives me hope for humanity

    Four computer controlled retractable articulated legs on those wheels and a segway type gyro and you could balance and stabilize the off-level terrain capability automatically....plus you could spider-walk it up and down stairs. Add long range tanks and air-to-ground missile capabilities and you could....no, let's leave it there.

    For reference:

    Technical Specifications:
    General Body Material: Steel, plate iron and stainless steel
    Actuator: 2 x 24V – 100W DC motors
    Power: 2 x 22Ah 12V gel batteries
    Charge: 5 Amp (external) battery charger
    Max Speed: 3,2 km/h
    Max Range: 14,4 km
    Max Grade of Climb: % 5
    Max Obstacle Height: 3 cm
    Weight Empty: 80 kg
    Max Load Capacity: 90 kg
    Total Width: 36 cm
    Total Length: 62 cm

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