Whill Type-A at CES 2014
The startup Whill has taken its first wheelchair, the Type-A, from an idea to production. The wheelchair was inspired by bicycles, scooters, and skateboards that make their users feel happy, and designed by former Sony, Toyota, and Olympus engineers. The company says the chair is now available for preorder and will start shipping within the US in early 2014.
The company started off interviewing 150 wheelchair users in the US. The people that were interviewed most often said they wanted both stability and a nimble machine but, most importantly of all, one that would help get rid of the negative stigma long tied to wheelchairs.
The Whill Type-A is different from normal wheelchairs in several ways. People can naturally lean forward, as they might be riding a bike. There’s no slouching back like when watching TV. It is more comfortable to use. The front wheel is composed of 24 separate tires, giving the vehicle very tight turning ability. And, it looks “modern and sleek,” like something you would expect from a Japanese car designer.
Riders control the Whill with a right-hand joystick; the left-hand has a simple fast- and slow-mode switch. It will go easily over obstacles up to three inches high. And, the seat will roll forwards and backwards, making getting in and out a cinch.