Japanese Robotics Experts Unveil Sci-Fi Wheelchair

From Space Daily, Tokyo (AFP), 26 August 2009

Robotic concept wheelchair
Robotic Rodem Wheelchair.

Robotics and medical experts in Japan on Wednesday unveiled the prototype of a new hi-tech electric wheelchair that resembles a scooter and promises greater mobility.

Users ride astride the four-wheeled Rodem—rather than sitting in it, as in a conventional wheelchair—steer it with a joystick and hold onto motorbike-style handles while the knees and chest rest on cushions.

The design allows users to slide more easily on and off the vehicle, lessening reliance on care-givers to lift them, the inventors said.



National Wheelchair Beautification Month was founded by Horace Knowles. According to an article by the Nashua Telegram at nashuatelegraph.com,

Knowles suggests attaching a florist's water tube near the top of a wheelchair by means of Velcro and inserting the real or artificial flower of your choice. It brightens the day not only for the wheelchair occupant, but for everyone they pass.

The article, "Daily TWiP – National Wheelchair Beautification Month", published: Nashua Telegram, Tuesday, July 1, 2008, goes on to suggest types of flowers and their meanings. [That Web page is gone but here is another source for the meaning of flowers from The Old Farmer's Almanac.]

jet-powered wheelchair
Jet-Powered Wheelchair from Allegro Medical press release product information page. Click on the wheelchair photo to see a larger image.

Another interesting thing to do for the month, if you have $414,697.76 to spare (price seems to have gone up since Disaboom's blog post and Allegro Medical's press release [page gone as of 10feb24]), is to get yourself a jet-powered wheelchair developed by Allegro Medical. Read all about this new mode of transportation on Disaboom, "Have $387,568 to spare? Hook yourself up with this Jet-Powered Wheelchair" at disaboom.com. As they say,

Safety first. Always wear a helmet and fire-retardant underwear when operating a jet powered wheelchair. (Underwear sold separately).