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Wheelchairs

Simon Burfield has created a wheelchair from LEGO Technic and Mindstorms components and so...

Back in June we demonstrated the incredible versatility of LEGO and the mind-boggling talent of those who spend hours and hours snapping together tiny bits of plastic to create something awesome. One contender for the next round is the LEGO Wheelchair built by Simon Burfield.  Read More

Wheelblades help prevent the front wheels from sinking

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

The Kenguru drive-from-wheelchair electric car

Though its undoubtedly true to say that mobility vehicles designed for wheelchair access exist, like AM General's MV-1, these generally relegate the wheelchair user to backseat passenger. Vehicles that do allow a wheelchair behind the controls are expensive made-to-order conversions of people carriers and mini-buses. The Kenguru is about as far from a people carrier as it's possible to get, being a small nimble electric vehicle, but one designed specifically for quick, easy access by, and driving from, a wheelchair. Its makers claim it is the first drive-from-wheelchair electric car.  Read More

As car ownership grows, congestion grows and parking in city centers becomes more expensiv...

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

The Turny Evo is a system that moves a vehicle's seat through the door, so disabled passen...

People with limited mobility face a challenge when getting into a conventional vehicle. Not only do they have to put aside their crutches or get out of their wheelchair, but they are also required to step up and across the vehicle’s door sill and swivel themselves sideways onto the seat. One option is to get a converted van, with a side- or rear-mounted ramp. Autoadapt, however, is now offering an alternative. The Swedish company’s Turny Evo system actually lifts the front driver or passenger seat out the door of the vehicle, turns it toward the user, and lowers it down. Once the user has seated themselves, the seat and passenger are then pulled back inside, and driving can commence.  Read More

Georgia Institute of Technology's new intraoral Tongue Drive system

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from severe spinal cord injuries, the tongue is often the only extremity still under their control. To take advantage of this fact, engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they call the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a wireless, wearable device that allows the user to operate computers and control electric wheelchairs with movements of the tongue. The latest iteration, which resembles a sensor-studded dental retainer, is controlled by a tongue-mounted magnet and promises its users a welcome new level of autonomy with both communication and transportation.  Read More

A survivor of the 7/7 London bombings has created a smartphone app that makes it easier fo...

How do you figure out how to pilot a wheelchair around your city? Around 10 percent or more of the population live with a disability, so chances are that you, or someone you know, has this problem. You can't be certain if wheelchair access is available unless you laboriously phone ahead to inquire for every route and every destination. Some web information is available, but knowing where to find it and what search strings to use can be a real challenge. Enter the Ldn Access smartphone app, that helps people with disabilities easily find where there are step-free access ramps, usable toilet facilities, and other services for the disabled.  Read More

A back view of the ribs and joints incorporated into the seat's backrest

As anyone who spends a lot of time seated at a desk will know, it's important to change your position every now and then. For wheelchair users, who spend almost every waking moment seated, it is crucial that they do so - if they don't, they can develop deformities or bedsores, or at least end up in considerable pain. Now, the Swiss research group Empa is working with the ergonomics company r going, to develop a new type of wheelchair seat that periodically causes users to change the way they're sitting.  Read More

New Zealand's Car Parking Technologies has developed a system that detects when a non-disa...

What does it mean when a parking spot is marked with a wheelchair symbol? If you answered, “It means I can park there as long as I’m going to be quick,” you’re wrong – yet you’re also far from alone. Every day in parking lots all over the world, non-disabled drivers regularly use spaces clearly reserved for the handicapped. They often get away with it, too, unless an attendant happens to check while their vehicle is parked there. Thanks to technology recently developed by New Zealand’s Car Parking Technologies (CPT), however, those attendants could soon be notified the instant that a handicapped spot is improperly occupied.  Read More

The WHILL on display at the Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag)

Wheelchair users with full use of their arms generally don't need electric wheelchairs ... but sometimes, especially if those users have long distances to cover, it sure would be nice to have one. Instead of going out and buying themselves a full electric wheelchair, however, those people may soon have the option of using a WHILL. Recently spotted by Gizmag staff at the Tokyo Motor Show, the prototype device clamps onto the wheels of an existing manual wheelchair, temporarily providing it with electric drive.  Read More

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