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Wheelchairs

Robotics

i-Transport robotic vehicle gets wheelchair-bound on their feet

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

Robotics

Chiba robotic wheelchair turns wheels into legs

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

Good Thinking

Wheelblades mini wheelchair skis for snow and ice

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

Automotive

Kenguru, the first drive-from-wheelchair EV, enters production

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

Automotive Feature

Dual-mode transport - the trend accelerates

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
Automotive

Turny Evo offers disabled drivers a seat

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

Science

New tech allows quadriplegics to discreetly control wheelchairs using their tongues

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

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