The wheelchairs we have now are limited in functionality in the sense that they’re hard to maneuver when there’s a sharp curve or an obstacle. Don’t even get me started on how useless they are when it comes to stairs (since obviously, they can’t be used on stairs!) That might all change though when these wheelchairs of the future by researchers from the Chiba Institute of Technology are rolled out.
This four-wheel-drive, five-axis robotic wheelchair can climb stairs, ditches, and other obstacles since it’s wheels are ‘transformed’ into legs when the need arises. Team leader Shuro Nakajima, a Chiba associate professor, explains: “The robot has five sensors on its feet, to see if there’s anything nearby. It can also see how far it is from a step.” This is good news to persons with disabilities since their mobility is greatly increased with the features that this wheelchair boasts of.
Pretty awesome, right? You can watch a video of the wheelchair in action after the break.