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Mobility Aid

We've already seen experimental "white canes" that allow blind users to get a sense of their surroundings via ultrasound and lasers. Birmingham City University's XploR mobility cane, however, uses its onboard electronics towards another end – to help users locate people that they know.

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Just because you have difficulty walking doesn't mean that you should be limited to the smooth sidewalks and asphalt paths of the world ... at least, not according to folks at Sweden's Zoomability. Their Zoom 4-wheel drive electric vehicle can be operated entirely by hand, allowing people with limited mobility – or anyone else – to get in some off-road action. Read More
For people who are almost entirely unable to walk, a powerful heavy-duty electric wheelchair is sometimes necessary. For folks who simply have limited mobility, however, often all that's needed is a little something to lessen the amount of walking that they have to do. A number of lightweight folding electric wheelchairs have emerged to serve that market. One of the latest, the Zinger, is also reportedly the lightest. Read More
On June 12th, the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be kicked off by a paralyzed person using a highly innovative brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton. This feat is being carried out as a demonstration of the current state-of-the art in assisted mobility technology, as the researchers involved – part of the "Walk Again Project" – work toward refining their invention. Read More
You probably wouldn't try using the same motorbike for both racing over rough trails and commuting on smooth roads, so ... why use the same prosthetic leg? That's the thinking behind the Moto Knee, a prosthesis that's designed for activities such as skiing, horseback riding, cycling and motocross. In order to withstand the impacts that come with such activities, it even incorporates a Fox DHX Air mountain bike shock absorber. Read More
Constantly being talked down to is bad enough, but wheelchair users also have to deal with the problem of accessing items that are often located out of their reach. A research team from Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has developed the “i-Transport” robotic vehicle that is designed to get wheelchair users on their feet so they can carry out conversations eye to eye and grasp hard-to-reach items. Read More
Making a wheelchair that can deal with steps and other obstacles has puzzled engineers for decades, with everything from tank treads to spokes tried and found not quite practical. Now a team of engineers from the Chiba Institute of Technology, led by associate professor Shuro Nakajima, have applied a bit of lateral thinking. They have developed a robotic wheelchair that isn't sure what it is. Normally, it operates on wheels like a conventional wheelchair, but when it meets an obstacle, the wheels turn into legs. Read More
When the going gets snowy and slick, people turn to snowshoes and ice cleats to get them over wintery ground. Those in wheelchairs don't have quite as many simple options. Essentially mini skis that lock onto the front wheels of a wheelchair, Wheelblades are designed as an easy-to-use solution that aid traction and give a little extra oomph through snow, ice and slush. Read More
Murata Manufacturing, a Japanese electronics company, has developed a walker called KeePace that stays upright on its own. The walker uses the same sensors famously demonstrated by the company's self-balancing robots which ride bicycles and unicycles without falling over. Read More
Auto China is probably the most influential automobile show in the world at present. China now produces and consumes more cars than any other nation, so its needs will heavily influence personal transport globally in coming decades. Some early trends are emerging as to what we'll see, and as congestion in China increases and parking centrally becomes prohibitively expensive, a car will increasingly only get you part of the way to your destination. Geely and BMW both showed cars with inclusive last-mile transport at Auto China, but the number of last mile Transportation Appliance options under development by auto manufacturers is growing rapidly. Read More
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