Toyota's i-Real Personal Mobility Concept

One2Ten: Personal mobility vehicles

Engineering technology has developed ingenious ways to assist those with personal mobility problems in getting around.

  1. Toyota's i-Real Personal Mobility Concept uses a drive controller so it can be used by people with a wide range of physical limitations. The tricycle can be operated with one hand, according to the manufacturer, and also has an 'active lean' system featuring a balance controller that enables stable acceleration and deceleration. Debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show, i-Real has been developed in order to decrease the environmental impact and energy consumption of individual daily travels. Range of up to 30km per power charge; offers two drive modes, walking and cruising.
  2. If the i-Real is too vanilla for your tastes, Toyota also offers its i-Foot Mobility Suit, designed to help elderly and disabled people who have difficulty performing routine tasks like climbing stairs, although by the looks of things you'd need to be relatively spry to get in and out of the thing in the first place. Nice and comfy once you're in, though, we think.
  3. The iBot is a powered wheelchair developed by Dean Kamen in a partnership between DEKA and Johnson & Johnson's Independence Technology division. By rotating its two sets of powered wheels about each other, the iBot can 'walk' up and down stairs. Software called iBalance receives data via various sensors and gyroscopes, allowing the iBot to maintain balance during manoeuvring. During curb climbing, for instance, the seat remains level while parts of the chassis tilt to climb the curb.
  4. The market for mobility scooters has over the last two years become very profitable, and therefore very compeititve. Innovation in design is transforming the rather bulky motorised comfy chairs of the past. The Jazzy Power Chair from Pride Mobility Products uses a centre wheel drive system to provide a turning circle of less than 38in. It uses an articulated castor system front and rear to provide additional stability. The Jazzy Select 6 has Activ Trac suspension, and in-line motor technology for extended torque and range.
  5. The Rascal Liteway 4 mobility scooter – a 'big portable' class model – claims to be the only portable scooter that offers full suspension. It is controlled by a grip-column steering. The Rascal Liteway disassembles into five parts. The Electric Mobility Liteway 4 variant has a weightload of 133kg.
  6. QTvan is a caravan designed to be towed by a mobility scooter, small enough to be used on the pavement, while accommodating a full-size bed, a 19in TV, and a drinks cabinet, or tea-making facilities for teetotallers. If any extra provisions are needed, the caravan can be towed inside a supermarket, the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) claims. The ETA developed the QTvan to highlight the plight of people who use a mobility scooter without breakdown cover and so face the prospect of a long recovery wait should they get a mechanical fault or their battery runs flat. Price tag for this dinky domicile-on-wheels is £5,500. Happy caravanning, mes petites!
  7. Professor Peter Sonksen, who injured his spine in a skiing accident, took a 4,629-mile trip around the US west in his Beamer Tramper all-terrain electric mobility buggy; he's pictured here at the Anasazi Ruins. The Tramper was awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise, Innovation category in the 2009 Queens Award for Enterprise: Innovation. The ruggedised vehicle is designed to enable people with mobility constraints to travel to places that standard mobility scooters would find impossible, including rocky and snowy environments. Trampers have participated in the Ten Tors and South Downs challenges.
  8. Otto Bock's Paragolfer is a singular all-terrain special construct vehicle that lifts people from a sitting position to a standing position. The company's 'Accessible Golf' project was presented in partnership with Hardenberg Golf Resort and the Stefan Quirmbach Golf School. Golfers with restricted mobility can book courses and, after technical instruction on the ParaGolfer, have different golf techniques explained to them. After 12-15 lessons, golfers can take the handicap permit test.
  9. Plumber and self-styled stuntman Colin Furze officially broke the mobility scooter world record in October 2010 with a speed of 71.59mph on the petrol-powered vehicle. Furze spent nearly three months and £400 converting his scooter, fitting it with a powerful 125cc motorbike engine beneath the seat, five gears and twin exhausts. After that he pitched it against a Robin DR400 single engine propeller-driven plane down a runway in Lincolnshire – and beat it.
  10. The Japanese Model TMSK WL-16R3 robot legs are designed to one day replace the common wheelchair, and their makers say they can climb stairs and uneven ground; the drawback is they are only up to trafficking passengers weighing up to 50kg in safety. At 1.3m tall and 68kg in weight, the robotic pins were created by a joint research group of Waseda University and Fukuoka-based robot company TMSK.

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