While electric and human-powered wheelchairs provide mobility for millions, users are normally restricted to the sitting position. The AbleChair, however, has a different take on things. Not only can it be used in the sitting position, but it’s also able to elevate to a normal standing position, enabling the person using it to interact with others at eye level. In addition, the overall chair assembly can lean back, and the seat is actuated, letting the user to lie down, stand, or easily transfer to the floor.
This, of course, offers better mobility, and presents real health benefits as well. Movement means users can stretch their muscles, avoid ulcers, and improve bone density. It also has applications in gait training, which the maker of this device, Advanced Fitness Components LLC, has been manufacturing for over the last 18 years. Being able to use their legs in a supported manner at any time will be a huge benefit to people that are learning to walk again.
The AbleChair is driven by brushless motors, Arduino and sensors, and there is a tilt function that can adjust the angle of the seat to differing degrees, ranging from a gentle recline to a full horizontal position. A joystick and touchscreen are used for control, while a wireless Android app lets users save and recall their favorite positions.
The versatile wheelchair is currently funding on Kickstarter with a fairly modest $20,000 goal. It is available there for just under $8,000, well under the planned retail price of $14,995.