For years, people with wheelchairs have been forced to endure limitations imposed by the environment and their fellow human beings. In addition to such natural obstacles as uneven terrain and rocky grounds, there is also the matter of stairs and inaccessible areas. As it turns out, that may be coming to an end! Recently, the Chiba Institute of Technology unveiled a new wheelchair concept that incorporates leg-like motion. It’s known as the wheelchairbot, a robotic chair that can tackle obstacles ordinary wheelchairs cannot.
The key is the five axes its base rotates on, allowing individual wheels to be lifted off the ground and moved in a walking style. It can tackle steps and various other obstacles whilst remaining stable, and can even line its wheels up and extend stabilizers to the left and right, enabling it to turn a circle. This makes it easy to reverse, even in a narrow space. In addition, the chair has a series of sensors that can detect incoming obstructions and deal with them automatically.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of the wheelchairbot in action. I think you’ll agree, the concept shows some serious promise, and may even be a big step towards making all areas accessible to all people!