Not surprisingly, those fancy electric wheelchairs that let people with limited mobility cruise about with the push of a joystick are incredibly expensive. So adapting technology that powers modern electric bikes, Yamaha’s JWX-2 electric assist gives that same mobility for less — and can be retrofitted to almost any manually driven wheelchair.
What’s unique about the system is that it works in tandem with the rider’s own arm motions, in essence amplifying their manual efforts. And the unit can adapt itself on a per-wheel basis to compensate for users who may be stronger in one arm than the other. Yamaha hopes to have the JWX-2 available to consumers as early as spring of next year, and while pricing hasn’t been specified yet, it will still be in the ballpark of several thousand dollars.