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These Mobility Aids Mean Nowhere Is Off Limits

The majority of us who are completely able-bodied should be incredibly thankful for being blessed with the ability to use our bodies how and when we please, because some of us are slightly less fortunate. With that being said, innovators and free thinkers around the world are doing some stellar work, forever narrowing the mobility gap between able-bodied and disabled people thanks to their dedication to the cause of improving lives. Here are 10 revolutionary wheelchairs and mobility scooters: 




1. WHILL Model M


Image Source and Copyright: WHILL

Country of Origin: USA 

Type: Four-wheel-drive power wheelchair 

This amazing wheelchair is the brainchild of a Japanese former Nissan engineer named Satoshi Sugie. His revolutionary design has attracted no less than $13 million in development funding to date. Among the standout features is a turning circle that measure a paltry 27 inches, making the Model M ideal for cramped spaces, four-wheel-drive, and front all-directional wheels, which incorporate 24 small rollers on each wheel to create a single large one. The latter feature makes the wheelchair ideal for traveling over rough terrain or navigating a steep, uneven incline. The wheelchair can  even be controlled via a dedicated smartphone app. 


2. Mountain Trike 

Image Source and Copyright: Mountain Trike

Country of Origin: United Kingdom 

Type: All-terrain trike 

Who says that wheelchair users can't go wherever they please? The Mountain Trike has been used to scale Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, and Mount Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. It features a single wheel at the back for stability when traveling uphill, and a further two wheels at the front to prevent the user from tipping over. Pump-action levers, which amplify the user's arm power when operating the wheelchair, also feature. 


3. Renfrew Group Chair 4 Life 

Image Source and Copyright: Renfrew Group

Country of Origin: United Kingdom 

Type: Modular children's wheelchair

The design concept behind this wheelchair is that a child begins using it at a very early age, then it grows with them over time. It has a vertical lift so the user can see eye-to-eye with his or her peers and an automatically-adjustable wheelbase, which adapts to the conditions depending on whether the user is indoors or outdoors. The wheelchair's track is also wide and long enough to ensure that it remains stable in situations where it is needed. 


4. Ogo Technology Ogo 

Image Source and Copyright: Ogo Technology

Country of Origin: New Zealand 

Type: Hands-free electric wheelchair  

The Ogo prototype was actually designed and built in a shed by a man named Kevin Halsall, however it is now available commercially. It is based on adapted technology from the popular two-wheeled Segway electric vehicle. Using this hands-free wheelchair, which balances itself to prevent the user from toppling over, is as easy as leaning forward in the desired direction of travel and using your core muscles for balance. Perhaps the Ogo's most impressive feature is its range - it can travel up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) in a single journey. 


5. Moving Life ATTO 

Image Source and Copyright: Moving Life

Country of Origin: Israel 

Type: Fold-up mobility scooter

This one is perfect if you happen to do a lot of traveling. The battery-powered ATTO weighs a mere 26.4 lbs (12 kg), and folds up into something the size of a wheeled piece of hand luggage. It can even be transported like one when not in use - it fits perfectly into an airplane's overhead compartment. What's more is that there are various plug-and-play accessories incorporated into the design, one of which is a charging port for a smartphone.




6. ROTA Mobility RoScooter 

Image Source and Copyright: Rota Mobility

Country of Origin: USA 

Type: User-powered mobility scooter 

The RoScooter's manufacturer, Rota, claims that this is the world's first user-powered mobility scooter. It's actually a great way of keeping fit, because propulsion is generated by moving its handlebars in a rowing (push-and-pull) motion. It also has eight gear ratios for use over different surfaces and inclines. In addition, its incredibly light weight of just 20 lbs (9 kg) and tiny width of just 24 inches (61 cm) make it ideal for use at home or in an office space.   


7. ROTA Mobility RoTrike 


Image Source and Copyright: Rota Mobility

Country of Origin: USA 

Type: Three-wheeled crossover wheelchair 

Similar to the RoScooter listed above, the RoTrike is also user-powered, however this particular design has three wheels rather than four for added maneuverability in tight spaces. The generated propulsion also travels exclusively to the rear wheels via eight different gear ratios. 


8. Permobil X850 Corpus 3G All-Terrain 

Image Source and Copyright: Permobil

Country of Origin: Sweden 

Type: High-end off-road wheelchair 

This is the Ferrari of the wheelchair world and has a price to match, costing around $55,000. It comes equipped with a leather seat that can be rotated 180°, and an Electronic Stability Program, just like on a modern car. Other features include a length-adjustable wheelbase, directional lights and spring-loaded wing mirrors. It can reach a maximum top speed of 9 mph (15 km/h). 


9. TC Mobility Tankchair 

Image Source and Copyright: Tankchair.com

Country of Origin: USA 

Type: Off-road wheelchair with tank tracks 

If you're a little different and happen to be looking for a new wheelchair, the TankChair consists of a figure-hugging bucket seat, just like you'd expect to see in a sports car, in combination with a pair of 12-inch (30 cm) tank tracks to make light work of the roughest terrain imaginable. Power comes from lithium ion polymer batteries, which have a lifetime of about 15 years. 


10. BONUS: CreativeDNAaustria Carrier 

Image Source and Copyright: CreativeDNAaustria 

Country of Origin: Austria 

Type: Concept Wheelchair 

This concept wheelchair, which is the work of an Austrian design trio, is designed so that the user can use the bathroom without even having to get up. It can also climb stairs and be height-adjusted when the user needs to fetch something that's high up and out of reach. Last but not least, we felt it deserved a place on this list because the design is both functional and beautiful. 


Content Sources: The Guardian, The Telegraph, Love These Pics, Moving Life, ROTA Mobility, Permobil, Tankchair.com, CreativeDNAaustria

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