Thursday, September 24, 2009

Robotics May Help Wheelchair Designs

Dean Kamen's team of designers created an advanced wheelchair, the ibot (http://www.dekaresearch.com/ibot.shtml), that used some of the features of his gyroscope-aided Segway personal transport.

Now a team of design students in Austria has created a concept for a similar chair that attempts to make the wheelchair a beautiful and functional accessory.

The CARRIER was developed as semester project at the University of Applied Arts in the Studio Industrial Design 2 Esslinger. (www.creativednaaustria.com). The CARRIER Wheelchair attempts to take into consideration everything confronting a wheelchair user making sure the user is fully independent, capable of traversing any terrain and situation (left).

The frame is specially shaped to maneuver over a commode. A “trap door” opens so you can use the toilet in a dignified manner without awkward transfers or assisted lifts. Stairs and inclines are managed with a “Galileo Wheel” that combines a wheel and track into a single drive with advantages from both. The entire chair even lifts to help you reach higher objects (right).

One of the things missing from Kamen's ibot and, for that matter, his robotics competition for students (FIRST), is design. Focusing on engineering alone creates products that look like WALL-E while we fall in love with EVE.

Click on the heading above to see more pictures and learn more from Yanko Design.

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