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Thread: A segway wheelchair

  1. #1

  2. #2
    wow Wise, neat.

    Do you feel like you could fall ever on yours, even as an AB when you r stopping, turning, etc? How much leaning does it take to run it?

  3. #3
    que cool!!
    Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Lizbv
    wow Wise, neat.

    Do you feel like you could fall ever on yours, even as an AB when you r stopping, turning, etc? How much leaning does it take to run it?
    Lizbv, the amazing thing about the Segway is that it become part of your body... After a while, you forget that you are on a machine. I don't even know what I am doing when I stop or go. The body just does it. Because the Segway gets its cues from the COG (center of gravity) of the body, there are many mechanisms that your body can use to change the COG. For example, even for people with high quadriplegia, tipping the head forward or backward can move the Segway forward or stop its forward movement.

    The iBot does the same thing and that is one reason why I think that it is a great device and such a shame that it really has not become a commercial success. in answer to your question about how much COG change one needs to control the device, the senstivity of the ibot is programmable. The original concept behind the iBot is that one could just insert a card into the machine and it would be set to you. In my opinion, the iBot is one of the greatest advances in wheelchair design and it unfortunately was smothered by inadequate marketing and over-regulation.

    Wise.

  5. #5
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    That is awesome! I'm trying to picture myself carrying things with it though ...
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  6. #6
    From my perspective as a designer of safety-critical devices, I would want to make damn sure that a risk analysis has been prepared very carefully for something like this. Even more so for the chair than the normal Segway, as the user may be literally placing their life in the hands of the software and hardware (and software, in particular, is generally the weak link in the chain). That is probably the root of the over-regulation you refer to. But if the risks are addressed adequately, then I agree that there is a great potential in the idea.
    - Richard

  7. #7
    I understand your point Richard, but its not extreme rockclimbing or something like that. Give it to me as is.....if i run into a few walls or down a step I'll deal with it. Right now I'm sitting on 4 wheels that will roll 20mph if I let them. I could get hurt on this as well.

    Life has risks, enjoy them.

    Dave
    Dave

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by rfbdorf
    From my perspective as a designer of safety-critical devices, I would want to make damn sure that a risk analysis has been prepared very carefully for something like this. Even more so for the chair than the normal Segway, as the user may be literally placing their life in the hands of the software and hardware (and software, in particular, is generally the weak link in the chain). That is probably the root of the over-regulation you refer to. But if the risks are addressed adequately, then I agree that there is a great potential in the idea.
    - Richard

    Richard,

    Based on what I have seen, the iBot is the most safety-tested wheelchair out there. It has dual parallel systems for controlling the balancing function, so that it always has a backup. The main problem that they had was the likelihood that people would press the device beyond its safety limits.

    For example, the ibot actually is stable enough to go on ice but people were afraid that people would use it for skiing or skating. It can go up and down most curbs but I am sure that somebody will take the machine beyond its limits and do something really stupid.

    The iBot can go up and down most stairs but the problem is that some stupid people may use it to go up and down stairs that have very narrow steps that are too small to be able to accomodate the iBot footprint or don't have the arm power to hold on to the bannister to keep the device from falling forward.

    I was on the Blue-Ribbon Panel that advised Johnson & Johnson on the development and marketing of the device. I thought that the company should not be developing and marketing the device as a medical one-of-a-kind device. They felt that they needed to do this, to claim a new class of personal transporter.

    As a result, the FDA required that the iBot satisfy a whole set of safety and other regulations that were not applied to regular power chairs. This was a mistake, in my opinion. Because of this decision, the iBot development took over 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars. The price of the iBot, which was originally projected to be about $15,000 has now gone to $30,000.

    The iBot is still the most mobile of all the powered wheelchairs. It can go on virtually any terrain, go up any slope, go up and down most curbs and stairs, and is able put the person at an eye-to-eye level with standing people in a stable mode for hours. If Johnson & Johnson's plans had been implemented, Detroit would be making cars and vans that are designed for the iBot. This still might happen but it is unfortunate that this has taken so long.

    To me, it is unreasonable to demand that iBot be completely risk free before it can be used. It is sort of like demanding that cars be crash-proof before you will allow them out on the road. We know that there are bad drivers who will kill themselves in their cars because they are irresponsible and stupid but that does not mean that cars should not be allowed until all cars are accident-free.

    Wise.

  9. #9
    What are the chances of this coming to the market, when and at what price??
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

  10. #10
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Dr. Young, as one who eagerly followed the development of the IBOT, I too was disappointed in the way the marketing was handled. I also believe that the machine that came out of development still seems like a NASA moon mission prototype in weight, appearance and price. IMO the stair climbing feature is not functional in everyday life if more than a few stairs are involved. Also, I had hoped that a true standing function would be offered. Just raising one up in a seated position is of limited use in many situations. J&J is a company I respect (disclosure - I own shares) but IMO they dropped the ball and squandered this break through effort in personal mobility for the disabled. Maybe they will make the needed adjustments to salvage those innovations and gain market acceptance. I certainly hope so.

    Yes, if money wasn't a consideration, the current IBOT would have a place as one piece of my mobility solution. IBOT may be a perfect answer for some users. Unfortunately, I am not in that group.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

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