Mobility Unlimited Challenge by Toyota Mobility Foundation
Wheelchair users face the frequent challenge of physical barriers. Although accessibility of public places has increased, steps and other obstacles remain a common burden for wheelchair users. To overcome such obstacles, users must lift the front wheels and balance on the rear. This maneuver requires immense upper-body strength, and not everyone is strong and self-confident enough to navigate over barriers this way. Electric powered wheelchairs do exist, but they are most often not designed for convenience of the user. At least from our point-of-view they are insufficient in helping users to lead a normal life. They are unattractive, bulky and can’t be operated manually, without electric power. These shortcomings in conjunction with missing alternatives cause frustration for many users. Our innovation consists of developing universal rear wheels suitable for any wheelchair of choice, equipped with an intelligent multifunctional powered assistance, controlled by an innovative hand rim integrated user-interface. These wheels are quiet, light, maintenance-free, mechanically stable and can overcome barriers without muscle power while being in an automatic balancing mode. They can be easily used as regular wheels with extended mobility. The user-interface functionality can be customised to interact with any wireless receiver to control e.g. smart home systems or automated door systems and many more.
Being proud be Discovery Award Recipient at Mobility Unlimited Challenge by Toyota Mobility Foundation during the last months we were able to take major steps towards the implementation of our concept. We use state-of-the-art electric technology to bring our innovative control-system and user-interface to life in our prototypes. In close collaboration with potential users we optimise our design and device functionality to implement features, currently missing in their everyday life and even further to address and overcome their everyday problems. Our intuitive and pragmatic user-interface can replace the conventional old-fashioned joystick, to open up new and flexible control options, way beyond simply operating the wheelchair. The opportunity to overcome obstacles with our modern electric drive technology can change mobility for wheelchair users thoroughly. Modern assistive mobility for everyday travelling, for everyone.
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