Despite the fact that many people sit in them for entire days, wheelchairs aren’t always known for their comfort. The seats are often thin with little padding. The backs provide proper posture, but for many, little else.
Leave it to the Japanese to come to the rescue with something that looks like it’s from the future. Called the Unimo EV, this single seat mobile chair is looking to change the way people get around.
The Unimo: Like a Loveseat on Wheels
At first glance, the Unimo looks like a miniature tank mixed with a chair from the Starship Enterprise. But once you sit it, you realize it’s not too different from any other electric wheelchair, except for the fact that it handles better and is ridiculously comfortable.
Because of its tank-like wheels, the chair can turn on a time, allowing for a person to maneuver in spaces as small as an elevator. Movement is controlled by a joystick. In addition to regular mobility, the seat itself adjusts and moves. It can even help the user get in and out of the chair by lifting up to make a 30 degree angle.
While traveling, the chair can detect steeper slopes and automatically adjust its tilt to ensure maximum comfort.
Can I Get One?
Not just yet. The chair has initially been developed for hospitals and medical facilities. The company that makes them (Nano-Optonics Energy) is currently negotiating with various care facilities (most of which are probably in Japan).
However, it does seem likely they will eventually make their way to the consumer market in one form or another. Thanks to the tread-wheel base, the chair can easily cross a variety of terrains and is able to grip to incline surfaces very well.
Knowing that, it would be a bit of a waste if these chairs were only ever used inside a building.