iBot 2.0: Stair-climbing, all-terrain wheelchair is just what the doctor ordered
When sales of the iBot 4000, a stair-climbing wheelchair were discontinued in 2009, Segway and iBot inventor Dean Kamen wouldn’t have expected the wheelchair to be revived. Toyota thought otherwise; therefore in collaboration with Kamen’s Deka Research and Development the former has produced an improved new version of the iBot. The basics of the four-wheel-drive remain intact. The motorized wheelchair has been made more robust and gets a range of new electronics, sensors and some software integration to function more seamlessly.
The most innovative thing about iBot 2.0 – which other motorized wheelchairs cannot dupe, is the wheelchair’s ability to stand on two wheels. The increased seat height can be achieved by the wheelchair lifting up its front axle to balance on the two rear wheels. Additionally the wheelchair can negotiate rough terrains and even climb stairs without a fuss.
Using the iBot 2.0, a wheelchair bound user can elevate himself to the level of a standing person to hold an eye-to-eye conversation, or even reach high sections in the kitchen cabinetry or the book shelf in the living room.
There is no word on the price or availability of the iBot 2.0 yet; but considering the iBot 4000 retailed for $25,000, we can expect the price to be comparatively lower now (some 15 years after the iBot of first made).