Tagged With wheelchairs

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Before the Segway, inventor Dean Kamen created a standing, self-balancing wheelchair called the iBot that gave users more independence and freedom. It also cost $US25,000 ($32,440), and is no longer available. But a new all-mechanical alternative might provide the same improvements in quality of life for users, at a much cheaper price point.

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At just 17kg — including its electric motor and rechargeable battery — the creators of the Zinger claim their electric wheelchair is the world's lightest. It even folds flat just like a lawn chair, and while you won't want to have to carry it on a long walk to the beach, it's easier to toss into the trunk of a car than most non-powered wheelchairs.

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It's one of the most stale idioms in the book: "Don't reinvent the wheel". But that didn't stop Gilad Wolf, the Israeli inventor who found that comfortably getting around in a conventional wheelchair was nearly impossible. Instead, Wolf set out to reinvent his wheelchair wheels.

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Getting around in a wheelchair is difficult enough, even when one still has use of their upper extremities. Quadriplegics face an exponentially more difficult challenge: controlling the wheelchair by sucking or blowing air through a straw. But this new powered wheelchair from the Georgia Institute of Technology will respond to a flick of the user's tongue.

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It might look like a one-seat sofa capable of traversing almost any terrain on the planet, but this compact electric vehicle is actually designed to be a highly manoeuvrable and comfortable alternative to a traditional wheelchair. You won't ever see it cruising down footpaths, but one day they might be crawling all over hospitals.

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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.

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Researchers at the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan have come up with a four-legged wheelchair design that lets the mobility device tackle steps and other obstacles that it simply couldn't with just four wheels. And it keeps its passenger level and perfectly safe when it's tip-toeing over uneven terrain.

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Transferring patients with limited mobility from a wheelchair to a bed could soon be an easier feat if Panasonic perfects this electric care bed it's been developing. It transforms from a wheelchair to a hospital bed so that patients don't ever have to actually be moved from one to the other. It's also an amazing accessory for telecommuters, and finally puts mankind on the road to the future predicted in Pixar's Wall-E.