Big Thumbs Up!
We can do amazing things when we try. Sadly money is often a limit.
Don't let it be. It's great to hear about those looking to improve and help others.
I hope the effort is put in the right place and many people benefit from this.
Inventor Dean Kamen has inked a deal with Toyota to revive his iBot smart wheelchair, which has been out of production since 2009. The Segway creator's DEKA Research and Development Corp and the Japanese automaker said this weekend in a joint press conference at the Paralyzed Veterans of America Convention that they would be …
>yet most trials are for military guys in the field to substitute for a fork lift. How sad.
That application is a better fit for the technology as it is now - fit operators, colleagues on hand to help don the suit, noise, power supply requirements etc. When it is refined, then yeah, it will be suitable for helping people who can't use their limbs.
Toyota's ability to utilize manufacturing economy of scale should deliver pretty consistent quality at a lower price point than Kamen was able to offer before. Plus the technology is a bit more mature now. This is hopefully good news for those with impaired mobility.
I'm already a fan of Kamen for his FIRSTInspires organization which get kids interested in STEM through various robotics programs. I'm a mentor for a local FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) team in my area and find it very rewarding work.
Toyota's ability to utilize manufacturing economy of scale should deliver pretty consistent quality at a lower price point than Kamen was able to offer before.
.. provided they source the right components. It's not (yet) been reported in the UK press, but they've just had to recall another 1.6M vehicles in the US as they had Takata airbags fitted (it's about vehicles manufactured between 2006 and 2011). That brings the total recall (Hi Arnie) for Toyota to about 4.7M vehicles, but that's not where this story ends.
(if case you're wondering, the problem is that high exposure to humidity can cause these airbags to explode with too much force, which results in shrapnel being thrown into the interior).
The aspect of this tech that impressed me most was the ability for the user to interact eye-to-eye with others.
Agreed, that's a big advantage. The only time I saw one of these (I live in the UK) was in a local restaurant when a young woman came in in one, and while her friends were standing waiting she elevated it so she was at the same height as her friends. It brought home to me how much we literally look down on wheelchair users and how that subconsciously affects our attitudes to them. Kudos to Toyota and Kamen for this deal.
Late to the party, but according to the iBot manual the balance function actually uses the least amount power. That's what is suggested when your battery is running low. I've been using mine for 10 years now. I never follow that advice because in balance mode the iBot is beyond slow, which may be why it draws less power?? Don't know - don't really care because either way it's amazing.
For that one!
I have a pathological hatred of Segways for some reason and hoverboards which are similar technology should have a bounty on them, (or at least the operators).
However, this wheelchair really should be made available to a wider customer base, with the enhanced mobility it offers and as mentioned the ability for users to function at eye level with other people offers those who need a wheelchair a chance to interact in a much better way with the world around them and to literally overcome the feeling of being looked down upon.
With Toyota in on the deal there will be a much better chance of an affordable chair for more people with the economies of large scale production.
You do realise that making technology commercially viable will speed up improvements in it, right? If the only market for that kind of technology was wheelchairs it'd take a lot longer to evolve simply because the funds would be harder to get.
You may hate Segways and so-called "hoverboards" but they've allowed for this wheelchair to come back from the scrapheap.
Yes, I'm fully aware of that Sebastian, I'm a robotics engineer but it doesn't mean I have to like everything that uses a given technology. There are a lot of other and possibly better uses for this type of gyroscopic stabiliser than a Segway,everyone has the right to like them or not like them, I go with the latter.
There are a lot of inventions that seem to be on the scrapheap but which are actually only postponed until development or the market moves to a point where they become viable in some way, I'd say this was one of them. With the benefits of LiPo batteries and better software it is about time powered wheelchairs moved forward from the Mobility Scooter to something really useful for people who can't go where they like because of disabilty.
Trust me, that feeling of being looked down upon is not just a feeling; it's a reality. Generally speaking, when people look down AT you, they look down ON you. The iBot enables me to retain my normal 6' height or lower to to someone else's level. It changes more than you can even imagine.
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