By Janet Fang
Posting in Design
A giant headphone-shaped add-on fits over the wheels of any ordinary wheelchair, endowing it with an electric drive. Now reach top speeds of over 12 mph!
Add electric drive to any ordinary, manual wheelchair with the WHILL add-on. The amped up wheelchairs can reach top speeds of over 12 mph.
The aftermarket augmentation device (pictured), made by Japanese company WHILL, looks something like a giant set of headphones – the 2 circular hubs that fit over the outside of the wheelchair’s wheels are connected by a curved bar.
After locking the hubs onto the wheels, the user steers the chair by leaning in the direction they want to travel, pushing against the central bar the bridges over the user’s waist. (It works kind of like a Segway). The speed and rotation speed of the wheels can also be adjusted.
Each hub has a 24-volt motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, which helps the wheels turn and move. It’s good for about 19 hours before needing a 2-hour charge.
The developers are seeking wheelchair users to help test the prototype in the field so they can design a product suitable for commercial production.
The tech was on view at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show earlier this month.
Dec 21, 2011
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Great looking, my only concerns are if it will be priced within reach of the disabled and their income. Second, while it's great for getting around - I don't see how a person would take care of normal daily chores such as shopping. With that bar in the way, I see the ease of doing normal day to day tasks as being questionable. Then I'd like to know how you get in and out for things such as potty breaks. Ease of getting in and out of the chair must be considered. Pleased these guys are thinking outside the box, I see it as having limited applications.
I rattle my tongue for this! 12 mph is a healthy jog pace. This makes use of existing chairs so doesn't waste materials. If it's affordable, it makes life far easier & more independent for people who currently live behind the 8-ball. Whee!