Toyota has released a list of finalists for the extensive Mobility Unlimited Challenge. It lasted three years and was dedicated to rethinking how a person with disabilities can get around. The $ 4 million prize pool is for those who can reinvent the wheelchair, and ideally abandon it in favor of a better solution.
From the entire list of projects, five most promising were selected, which now face the most difficult part of the competition. They will receive $ 500, 000 each to build a working sample of their invention and demonstrate it in action, in real conditions. The finalists of the competition have less than two years to do this, the final results will be summed up in 2020. The winner will receive an award in the amount of $ 1 million and a potential chance to make history - this is the year of the Olympic Games and new vehicles for disabled people can immediately come in handy for guests of the competition from different countries.
Phoenix Ai Ultralight Wheelchair
One of the projects, "Qolo", is just a "stroller 2.0" - the chair has been replaced with a folding mechanism that can lift the operator vertically, to the level of "look into the eyes" of the interlocutor. In contrast, the Phoenix A chair is a “smart stroller” with a system of self-balancing, vibration damping, adaptation to the owner's movement style, etc. Plus it is ultra-lightweight as it is made of composite materials. But even lighter are accessories from the Evowalk series from Evolution Devices, which belong to the class of wearable electronics and stimulate muscle work to prevent paralysis, seizures and other negative factors in the human musculoskeletal system.
An alternative to wheelchairs can be the Quix exoskeleton, a relatively simple device that is equipped with spatial orientation technologies. They are borrowed from drones, so, in theory, the following models will be able to deliver the owner to their destination on their own. And when it comes to transportation, the Italdesign electric car comes to the rescue, which is designed to complement a regular stroller. In some ways, the idea is close to bicycle rental, and such cars can be placed in dedicated areas for general use.