Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels
Tad Davis, KCCI.com
Video: Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A new style of wheelchair is revolutionizing the life of an Iowa man, and he wants everyone to know about it.
"It's amazing the freedom it gives you," said Dave Johnson, of Michellville.
Johnson started losing his ability to stand and walk in July 2006 when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. But the 42-year-old gained some freedom back this fall when his iBot 4000 was delivered.
Johnson said one of the toughest challenges for him was how "everyone looks down on you," an adjustment for a man who stands 6 feet 2 inches tall.
It's just one of the ways the iBOT mobility system is different. The chair lifts Johnson back to his standing height while balancing him on just two wheels.
"I raises me up to eye-level to be able to carry on a conversation," Johnson said. He can easily reach counter height and reach things normally far out of reach.
The system was developed by the inventor of the Segway scooter, Dean Kamen. The system uses the same technology and gyroscopes to instantly adjust to balance the chair.
In the video, you can see how well it works. Johnson tells KCCI reporter Steve Karlin to push him. Karlin does, and Johnson's iBOT instantly adjusts to prevent him from tipping over, all while balancing him on just two wheels.
The chair also has the ability to climb stairs. The wheels flip from step to step moving Johnson up or down without any help.
Johnson said it works just as well outside and said it works just like four-wheel drive -- moving across snow, rocks, grass, sand and water with ease.
The iBOT costs around $23,900. Johnson said he knows not everyone can afford one, but he said he wants to tell anyone who will listen about the benefits.
"It's amazing the freedom it gives you," he said.
You can learn more about iBot 4000 at http://www.ibotnow.com