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Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels

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Unread 01-17-2008, 10:00 PM   #1
BobbyB
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Trophy Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels

Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels
Tad Davis, KCCI.com
Video: Wheelchair Climbs Stairs, Balances On Two Wheels

http://www.kcci.com/news/15074673/detail.html



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
http://www.kcci.com/news/15074673/detail.html
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Unread 01-18-2008, 11:21 PM   #2
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Researchers in Sweden have developed a wheelchair that can be driven manually, by remote controlled or fully autonomously (navigate on its own), which enables even the most severely handicapped people to achieve independent mobility.

With the new navigation system, users can use their head to give commands to the wheelchair. Examples of commands are ‘take the next possible left,’ ‘next possible right,’ ‘follow the wall,’ ‘turn right/left,’ ‘go straight ahead,’ ‘go through the doorway,’ etc.

It’s an ‘intelligent’ wheelchair that enhances the freedom of users by using a new navigation method that finds open and free areas where a vehicle can navigate. These free, open areas are used to create a map that can be used for navigation. New type of wheelchair prototype called MICA (Mobile Internet Connected Assistant) is connected to the Internet and can be remote controlled or driven manually, but can also navigate on its own.

The new navigation method is used to find possible routes for the wheelchair, past various obstacles, for instance. A distance-metering sensor is used to discover the surfaces that are available to the wheelchair, and the technology can also be used to ensure that the wheelchair is being used in a safe manner.

The technology provides the user with both enhanced freedom and reduced dependency on relatives and personal assistants. One prospective user group would be severely handicapped individuals who would otherwise find it difficult to steer a wheelchair. Using a computer and a mouse controlled by the head, they can steer the wheelchair through head movements alone, which would obviously open new possibilities for people who have suffered spinal injuries, for example, and substantially lost control of their arms and legs.Ultimately this new technology can be used to guide the blind and sight impaired as a complement to the cane. Since the technology also creates a map, it can also assist people who suffer from dementia and impaired memory.


http://www.electric-wheelchair-on.ne...ic-wheelchair/
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