As a device to help the disabled and non-ambulant, the wheelchair has been pretty ubiquitous throughout the ages. But with Nano-Optonics Energy’s Unimo, our go-to device for helping move the disabled gets a definite upgrade. The Japan-based technology company has come up with a tracked, one-seater electric vehicle that looks like a cross between a sofa seat and an all-terrain vehicle.
The Unimo has rubber crawler tracks, instead of the ever-present side wheels of a wheelchair, which pretty much allows it to traverse a wider range of terrain than traditional wheelchairs. And it being motorized, the Unimo can make 360-degree turns, a feature useful when getting in and out of elevators. Another cool feature of the Unimo is its independent torsion bar suspension system which allows the one-seater to climb over a step 15cm high. In comparison, traditional wheelchairs can only climb 8cm steps. The seat of the Unimo is also adjustable, helping its users to get on and off easily. When a user is getting on or off, the seat’s rear portion can be adjusted to a 30-degree angle facilitating the action. A sensor is also tied in to the seat’s inclination system, as when the Unimo traverses a slope, the sensor detects the degree of incline and tilts the seat accordingly for a more comfortable ride.
The Unimo is clearly a step up to your traditional wheelchair, but it won’t be available to the public readily. Nano-Optonic will be prioritizing hospitals and elderly care facilities for the initial usage of the Unimo. The Unimo, once used in hospitals, should be a great help for both patients and hospital staff. The motorized electric chair is joystick-controlled and is so versatile that it can even get on or off trains, move over uneven gravel roads, as well as traverse smoothly over sand beaches. This might be the start of mechanizing and “robotizing” hospitals and care facilities in Japan, as the central government just recently announced subsidized funding for developers of cheap robotic equipment to assist in hospital and elderly care tasks.
[via Device Mag]