Last week I had an exclusive view of a Genny, a mobility device that uses Segway technology. There are other Segway based devices but none are available commercially except the Whill and this is the only one that uses the official Segway technology.
It was devised by Paulo Badano a businessman who, after a motorbike accident, was confined to a wheelchair 20 years ago. Like all of us he found the 4 wheeled wheelchair “constraining” and aesthetically debatable. He also recognised that it used obsolete technology i.e. no technology!!
Paolo’s idea was to make Segway technology available to “seated people” and it is the first two wheeled self-balancing chair, thanks to the official partnership with Segway inc.. He believes that it’s styling will create a “path toward disability integration”.
It certainly does make you feel more included, as the able bodied around me want one! It’s a ‘sitting down Segway’ with one big difference, the styling. It looks more like a cool motorbike than a Segway.
The only issue, for me, was the immovable footplate but they have made an adaptation so that it folds away. You also need good core mobility as you manoeuvre by bending forwards and backwards. The back looks amazing and can be adjusted to suit. The arms collapse down to allow sideways transfers and the front post, which provides the turning mechanism, can be removed when sitting at a table. It dismantles quite easily and fits into a ‘reasonably sized car’.
To get it into the car it has to be rolled up a ramp as it’s too heavy to lift but they are looking to include GPS so not only does it know where it’s going you can also, remotely, get it up the ramps. Another development is a car hoist mechanism, for independent use without the need for extra assistance.
For those of you who are interested here’s the technical stuff:
‘The Genny™ has a range of up to 25 km depending on the style of driving and the terrain on which it is being driven at top speeds of 12 kmh. Featuring a wireless Infokey which acts as a mini dashboard for the device and without which the Genny™ will not operate, a side panel control unit operates the parking feet and operates the light and there is a presence sensor under the seat ensuring the device remains static unless a passenger is onboard.’
Genny is Swiss engineered with Italian style and it’s not cheap at £13,500. But they are looking at finance options within the UK. There’s also and off road kit that costs an extra £1,499.
I definitely want one as it has a small turning circle and is no bigger than my Panthera wheelchair. It’s smaller than an electric wheelchair or any of the electric ‘add-on’ devices and it’s suitable for indoor use but I think the tyres might make a mess in my bathroom. They can now be purchased in the UK from:
What do you think, is this desirable, would you buy one?? Contact us with your thoughts.