Monday, October 15, 2012

Wheelchair From Japan Can Step Over Obstacles And Climb Steps

Researchers and Engineers from the Chiba Institute of Technology in Japan have developed a new wheelchair that has the capability of articulating itself to get over obstacles and climb up curbs and steps.  More information and a video after the jump.

The wheelchair normally uses four wheels, which are all powered, to move around in the same manner as a conventional wheelchair.  When the sensors on the wheelchair detect an obstacle or a step, the chair will articulate itself to raise the appropriate axle and lift the appropriate wheel to overcome the obstacle or raise itself up the step.  The entire action is done by the sensors and computers on the chair and the user only has to use the joystick to dictate the direction of travel. The sophisticated computers and sensors on the chair automatically assess the surrounding terrain and adjust the axles and the wheel torque accordingly.  These systems not only allow this wheelchair to get over obstacles and climb steps but also allow the user's seat to remain level regardless of the roughness of the terrain.  This wheelchair also has the capability of having a zero turning radius by articulating its axles and deploying outrigger wheels to allow maneuvering similar to that of a mid-wheel drive wheelchair.

This wheelchair is only a concept with the researchers working of assessing its feasibility in real-world experiences.  Check out the clip below.  Enjoy!

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