The wheelchair that you wear, like pantsJul 12 07:48
We’ve all long known that standing wheelchairs are pretty sweet. You get in, stand yourself up, then use the joystick to move wherever you‘d like; all while standing, which is a hugely exciting experience for longtime wheelchair-users. What would you say to a sensor-driven standing apparatus, still on wheels, but only with it encases your legs like a glove?
This latest standing wheelchair, which blows the standard standing wheelchair out of the water, is called The Chariot, a.k.a the “new gizmo for getting around” (or so says the manufacturer, Exmovere), and it is a definite sci-fi upgrade. The Chariot is chock-full of sensors, making it move with you as you move. Turn your torso to the left, and the chair, while snuggly wrapped around your legs, will turn to the left as well, making for a natural, intuitive, movement experience.
What’s rather amusing is that the Chariot is put on like a pair of pants (take off your shoes before getting in!). So to the ladies out there - if you get this, you won’t need to worry about your footwear anymore (is that a good or bad thing?). Your legs are also not visible when you’re using it, so even your lower-half clothing isn't seen. You're like alf-robot. And the one huge thing I noticed - it doesn’t have a sitting function, so if you want to take a break from standing, you’d have to transfer out, and that is not functional for many.
So yeah. The Chariot is like putting on a really shiny metal long skirt. And where your feet would be, there are wheels instead. How Rosie Jetson-esque. It is not yet available for purchase and an approximate price is no where to be found, but if anything, if it never goes into production, The Chariot displays just how powerful our current technology is, if applied outside-of-the-box.
Exmovere is a biomedical engineering company. They have a history of working on government projects and are known for creating powerful sensor technology. They have created some other amazing products, including a sensor-laden watch that can monitor bodily functions.
After watching The Chariot in action (here), it appears doubtful that it could handle any terrain other than pavement. Snow would certainly block the low clearance. So, it has no sitting mode/you need to transfer out to relax, and it only rides on flat surfaces? Those are certainly not the greatest cons in the world, but the pros, oh the pros - the whole moves-with-you-intuitively thing - making it easier to participate in a standing world? Yeah…I want to try that bad. Real bad.
Hey Exmovere, does it comes in a size 6?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.