Mobility has presented challenges for the differently abled, and it has also posed difficulties for the manufacturing industry in perfecting the concept of self-controlled wheelchairs to provide users with greater freedom. While addressing the quest for enhanced mobility, the focus has predominantly centered on the practicality of being seated and moving smoothly on level terrain.
A bright idea, which could change the way we see mobility on wheelchair for good, seems to be in the works as a new robotic wheelchair. The wheelchair, conceived by the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM), comprise mechanism that would allow it to climb stairs and let the occupant stand upright with assistance.
The latest breakthrough in assistive technology, this wheelchair design places a strong emphasis on user comfort and adaptability. This remarkable idea comprises a central platform equipped with two distinct modules: a stair-climbing module located at the bottom, and a standing module on top.
The stair-climbing module, which is ingeniously designed to stay retracted within the chair when not needed, keeping the chair looking classic and sleek for everyday use. When the user encounters a flight of stairs, the stair-climbing module can be lowered and while maintaining the wheelchair’s horizontal level, it allows the user to tackle the staircase one step at a time without compromising safety. For safety, the stair-climbing module features pair of rubber tracks on front and back that grips the edge of the stairs to ensure it does not slip.
Beyond this enhanced mobility, this wheelchair offers an added dimension of well-being through its standing module. This module facilitates smooth transitions between various postures, including standing, reclining, leaning backwards or forward. This adaptability helps reduce monotony and the risk of poor blood circulation that can result from prolonged periods of sitting in the same position on a wheelchair.
As if these features aren’t impressive enough, the design team is reportedly working on transforming wheels to replace the climber module. These wheels exhibit the ability to remain perfectly round while moving on flat surfaces and tend to conform to the contours of stairs as they roll over them. With the combination of a retractable stair-climbing module and a standing module, this robotic wheelchair has the potential of transforming the lives of individuals with mobility challenges for good.