A new robotic mobilization device could be the future of mobility for traditional wheelchair users! The device, which is in the prototype stage, would allow a wheelchair user to transition from a seated position, either from their wheelchair or a standard chair, bed, etc. directly to the device. The user then straps their legs, waist, and chest into the device for complete safety and security. The device comes with grab bars that the user can reach out and grab to pull themselves up into a standing position.
Once in a standing position the user is able to use the controls to maneuver themselves around much like a person who uses a Segway to “walk” from point A to B. The device also allows users to easily go from a seated to standing position. This allows for an easy transition from a situation requiring you to sit at a table for instance to standing up to clear your plate after a meal.
The manufacturer advises that this new platform has 4 major advantages:
- Unlike most wheelchairs which are front mounted requiring users to lift themselves to transfer in and out, this device allows users to mount onto the device from the back, avoiding the need to throw or transfer your body in and out of a wheelchair.
- The device allows the body to stay in a standing position for extended periods of time, providing multiple health benefits and increased mobility.
- Users can mount the device and stand up without assistance from others.
- Most other standing wheelchair devices are not able to lift the user up and down, unlike this device, leaving the user’s hands and arms free.
In addition to these benefits, perhaps the most unique advantage is that it allows someone who normally would perform all daily activities from a seated position to interact with others at an average person’s eye level, in essence leveling the playing field between those with physical disabilities and the able-bodied world.
This breakthrough device was designed for people with spinal cord injuries or those who have lost their ability to walk due to injury or illness. So while the device may be most beneficial for this population, the device may not be as beneficial for people with other disabilities. Another problem that the device does not address is the ability to get up and down curbs or stairs.
You can see a demonstration and check out all the features of the device here:
What are your thoughts? Do you think this new device could someday make wheelchairs obsolete? Share your thoughts in the comments!