Out and About

Some new developments on the mobility front:

  • A wheelchair with legs that can climb steps and negotiate obstacles has reached the prototype stage in Japan.  An interesting take on how to climb stairs/curbs in a wheelchair. A pretty cool idea, although it looks like it would take some getting used to. I think I’d feel like I was about to be tossed out. Maybe it comes with a seatbelt?
  • Everyone who has tried to navigate streets and sidewalks in a wheelchair or a walker understands this. As much as it might be dangerous to travel on the street, often there is no choice when the sidewalk is either in poor condition or nonexistent. (I’ve never heard of anyone who was “wheelchair bound,” unless maybe in a nasty horror movie.)
  • I’ve seen a device like this one, an add-on power assist for wheelchairs, but it was very expensive. Hopefully this one from Yamaha will be more affordable.
  • OK, so it’s not very practical, but even wheelers need to have some fun. We probably all have a big box of Legos in the basement – instead of trying to figure out how to recreate the Millennium Falcon, why not build a power chair?
  • I lived in Ithaca, NY, briefly in a former lifetime, and loved the city. While I was a confirmed walker in those days, it is a city on a hill, and would present serious challenges to wheelers. I’m impressed that they have put together a public/private partnership to add a wheelchair accessible taxi, the MV-1, to their public transportation service. Hopefully a model for other communities.
  • Expensive, and only available in Europe, but the Genny is maybe the coolest practical mobility machine I’ve seen. Looks like a gas to drive, and goes anywhere – even the beach! Check out the videos. Anybody have the wherewithal to bring it to the US?

Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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