For as easy as technology has made the lives of the average healthy, able bodied, and sound minded person, it’s done even more miraculous things for those who are disabled or impaired in any way. Many conditions that were once a death sentence at worst, and a guaranteed difficult and painful life at best, or now treatable, or even curable, thanks to advancements in so many fields.
Now Japanese researchers at the Chiba Institute of Technology may have just made a truly significant improvement to one of the oldest and most vital of all medical aids: the wheelchair.
Four wheel drive powered, and heavily reliant on robotics and hydraulics, this wheel chair is based on the the simple idea of providing true range of mobility to the tragically immobile among us. Primarily using sensors on the bottom, this wheelchair is incredibly useful in situations that the average wheelchair fails at such as taking a sharp turn, incline, or making tight movements in confined spaces. However, the feature that truly makes it excel is how it handles obstacles and steps.
That’s right. This thing can actually climb steps and go over common items that would have once been an impediment. The sensors gauge the distance of the steps or items and the chair does the rest. Even larger objects (like cinderblocks) can be overcome using communication between the rear wheels and the front to create the appropriate amount of leverage.
Now the actual movements themselves are somewhat awkward right now, but the job still gets done in any case. Besides, the more important thing is that the idea of such an innovation is out there for either the researchers at Chiba to perfect, or for other groups to start experimenting with, in the hopes that one of the most serious of physical detriments may one day no longer prevent those that suffer from it from performing basic movements in everyday scenarios.
Hell, I wouldn’t mind one for the mornings when my brain and my legs aren’t on the same page yet.
I kid, I kid.