When new mobility technology gains clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it represents a huge step forward in the life of the product. It also allows the prototype to become a reality, because the device is now cleared to be manufactured and sold to the American public.
Over the past year, we have seen exoskeleton technology advance and gain FDA clearance, but now a new wheelchair is surging towards becoming available to the wheelchair users.
Most recently, wheelchair manufacturer WHILL, Inc. reported that its Model M wheelchair was cleared by the FDA and will be released in the coming months. The company describes this as a major milestone for their team and customers, and they are looking forward to working with healthcare providers to get their new wheelchair in the hands of as many people as possible.
What Makes the Model M Wheelchair So Innovative?
Originally created in June, 2015, the Model M wheelchair features a simplistic design. The chair doesn’t really look like much at first glance, but upon seeing it in action, you can see how easy it makes maneuvering in tight spaces and over rough terrains.
Because its front wheels utilize all directional technology, and are made from 24 small rollers that collectively create one large wheel, they can turn in any direction. This makes the chair easy to steer and navigate through small spaces and tight corridors.
The chair is also quite powerful and makes travelling over grass, dirt, gravel and even snow much easier than a standard power wheelchair.
WHILL also states that the chair fits nicely into many vehicles and can even be loaded using a ramp or van wheelchair lift.
Cost May be the Only Factor
The price tag that WHILL has put on the Model M: $13,995. It’s no small investment, but it doesn’t seem too far out of reach. We can only hope that time will bring down the price so that more budget-conscious people can afford the wheelchair in the future.
According to the map on their website, the Model M can be purchased from about three dozen stores spread out all across the US. You can even request a test drive before buying the chair.
All in all, it looks like a great new wheelchair, for those who can afford the slightly steep price tag.
What do you think of the Model M wheelchair? Are you excited to see how it works? Let us know by commenting below!