Rolling Without Limits

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British Entrepreneur & Wheelchair User Wins International Funding
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British Entrepreneur & Wheelchair User Wins International Funding

Andrew Slorance, a British entrepreneur and long-time wheelchair user, has won $500,000 of international funding and support to develop his wheelchair concept further. The British entrepreneur and his Phoenix Instant team have also been named as one of the five finalists in the $4 million Toyota Mobility Unlimited Challenge global competition. The finalists were announced at the recent 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Slorance and his Phoenix team have developed an ultra-lightweight, self-balancing, smart wheelchair made from carbon-fiber materials. Named the Phoenix AI Ultralight Wheelchair, it promises to eliminate painful wheelchair vibrations.

Using a wheelchair since the age of 14, Slorance is no longer stranger when it comes to building high-tech wheelchair products. The British entrepreneur has already worked on numerous wheelchair products, including the popular Carbon Black wheelchair product.

According to Andrew Slorance, the wheelchair can perform a number of smart functions, which includes an intelligent feature that will allow the wheelchair product to continually adjust its center of gravity to fit what the wheelchair user does. It uses smart sensors to configure itself to remain in sync with how the wheelchair user moves. The wheelchair’s smart sensors detect the user’s movement, allowing a more precise wheelchair response.

In addition to smart sensors, the wheelchair also boasts a lightweight power assist feature and an automatic braking system to help people better navigate.

Toyota started its Toyota Mobility Unlimited Challenge in 2017 to raise awareness about accessibility issues and help people with lower-limb paralysis. This three-year global challenge invites innovators and inventors from all over the world to submit ideas for ground-breaking innovations that incorporate intelligent systems to address mobility issues. The challenge focuses more on developing game-changing technologies or devices that will integrate seamlessly into users’ daily lives and their environment.

Fortunately, Slorance and his Phoenix Instant team have managed to wow the judges with its innovative smart wheelchair concept. As one of the finalists, Slorance and his Phoenix team will receive the grant of $500,000 to develop their wheelchair concept further. Additionally, they will also receive free workshops and mentoring opportunities from engineering experts, which will help in the development of their new product.

Toyota will announce the final winner of their Toyota Mobility Unlimited Challenge in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The winning team will receive a grand prize of over $1 million.

Image credit: Image Credit: Sophie Morgan/Youtube screencap

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