Thinking Tech

All-terrain wheelchair is built like an Army tank

All-terrain wheelchair is built like an Army tank

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With the ultra-ruggedized Action Trackchair, even the toughest terrain is "wheelchair accessible."

While the wheelchair has become the gold standard in mobility for the disabled, it's still somewhat limited to smoother surfaces like roads and sidewalks. But now, an ultra-ruggedized take on the popular device gives new meaning to what's wheelchair accessible.

The Action Trackchair, invented by Tim Swenson, was designed to be the kind of off-road solution that makes it possible for users to go just about anywhere. By replacing the standard wheel and axle with a six and a half inch wide motorized caterpillar tracks, riders can venture into areas covered with mud, snow, sand, water as well as hilly or rocky surfaces. While a zero-turn radius steering system helps users maneuver over obstacles and tight spaces, the chair's wide stance and low center of gravity design keeps the vehicle steady and balanced, even when traversing some of the most challenging terrain.

The motor runs at a top speed of five miles an hour and power is supplied by a 24-volt re-chargeable battery that boasts an eight mile range. And for the outdoorsy types, there are optional add-ons such as a gun rack and fishing rod holder.

Swenson came up with the idea for the Action Trackchair because he wanted his son, who was paralyzed in a car accident, to enjoy all the same outdoor activities prior to the injury.

"The Action Trackchair is by far the biggest change in my life since my accident 11 years ago," Jeff Swenson, the creator’s son said. "It has enabled me to be able to go hiking, camping, gardening, and hunting! This off-road wheelchair has definitely been life changing. I have not had so much mobility and freedom in a long time."

Though the $8,800 starting price is a bit steep, Swenson's company has offered to fully customize the Action Trackchair to suit the user's specific needs.

(via Action Trackchair)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure