Saturday, December 10, 2011

WHILL Turns Manual Chair Into Powerchair

WHILL, a Japanese mobility company, recently debuted a prototype of their WHILL personal mobility device at the Tokyo Motor Show.  The premise for this device is to give wheelchairs who may not necessarily need a powerchair full-time but could use the power for traveling long distances.  It seems that this could only be used outside as this would significantly add width to the chair when in use.  More information and images after the jump.

Their device is an attachment that transforms an existing manual chair into a power chair.  The device attaches to the outside of the rear wheels of the chair with the front of the device serving at the controls.  Hub motors move the wheels with control achieved by the user simply leaning the front section in the intended direction, just like a Segway.  The amount of lean for control and the angle of the front section can be adjusted to suit the user.

The motors are powerful enough to propel a chair up to 12.5 mph and have a range of about 19 miles.  The batteries are lithium-ion and can be recharged in about 2 hours.  WHILL is currently looking for wheelchair users to field test their devices: you can contact them via their website.  Enjoy the images below!

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