The ‘D’ list looks at new things in the world of disability. An infrequent look, as things don’t change that fast when it comes to innovation and mobility aids. However, there are things afoot, if you’ll pardon the pun! Here’s a refresh on our review of stylish and trendy wheelchairs, a contradiction you say but look at what’s here and coming down the tracks………………..They’re all Re-Defining Mobility!
1st WHILL a PEV (Personal Electric Vehicle)
It’s been around for a while (see our previous review) and has been installed at various airports around the world. It’s available widely in the USA with various payment plans. The latest model is the Ci which can rise over 2″ obstacles and is foldable for transportation. It has a smaller footprint and has a range of 10 miles at 5mph. I tried the previous model C and it was certainly easy to use and handled London pavements with no problem. It was too large to use indoors and I would recommend for outside use however the new Ci model is apparently operable indoors and out. The Ci costs around $4999 and but only the model C is available in Europe, (follow this link). Available in 6 colours from blue to gold the WHILL certainly has style and was the envy of passers by as I took it to lunch!
There is a new development from the company, an autonomous version that will make personal mobility ‘fun’ – MaaS (Mobility as a Service).Can’t wait to see how that works and we’ll report back when we know more.
2ND a PEV By Centaur Robotics
The Centaur is built and designed in the UK and we’ve been following their progress avidly. Designed in response to a very personal need – one of the founders was shocked at the ugliness of standard wheelchairs and wanted to give his disabled son something that was envied by all! After various iterations and hurdles it’s now available to pre-order at £6k+ and you can join their crowdfunding campaign if you wish to speed development to market.
A big selling point is its vertical manoeuvrability to eye level however, you do need some core stability to use. Like the WHILL it’s self balancing with a small turning circle and it can be folded for transportation. The biggest advantage for me is that it looks like a design from Apple, it’s sleek and has a ‘beautiful minimalist design that’s easy to clean and maintain’.
3rd is Scewo Bro
A stair climbing wheelchair from Switzerland the Scewo Bro. It’s available to pre-order in Europe and they may supply elsewhere if you contact them. Expensive at CHF 36.000 (£30k), it is made to your specification. Like the previous PEVs, it’s self balancing and has ‘extendable tracks with support wheels (stairclimber)’. It means you can go almost anywhere as long as there’s space for it’s rather large frame and it has a range of 25km.
You don’t need a lot of core strength as its operated with a joystick or remotely via an app and has been designed for people who have severe disability and muscular atrophy. Most importantly there’s a safety belt and a rear view camera! If you look at this video at 24 secs you can see how it operates and they also answer common questions on range, water resistance etc. You can fold but you’d need an SUV for transportation. In summary this is a great replacement for the standard electric wheelchair.
If you’ve seen any new development in the world of disability do get in touch and we’ll feature on the ‘D’ List, contact us here. Coming soon we look at some great rollator designs………suitable for Captain Tom who using his NHS rollator raised £40m for the NHS!