Kim-e electric wheelchair gets users standing and rolling
For many wheelchair users, one of the biggest problems with using a chair is not being able to stand as tall as other people. The Kim-e wheelchair was designed with that fact in mind, as it raises its user into an upright stance in just a few seconds.
Manufactured by Lithuanian company Chronus Robotics, the two-wheeled self-balancing Kim-e was first announced four years ago, and can now be booked for test rides by prospective buyers. We're still waiting to hear back regarding pricing and availability.
Users are able to utilize the wheelchair in a traditional seated position, when they wish to sit at a table or desk. When they want to stand, a powered scissor-lift-type mechanism raises the seat while also slanting it, bringing the user up to (sort of) stand eye-level with non-wheelchair-users. Thigh straps ensure that they won't slide out of the chair while doing so.
Both the seat-raising mechanism and the powered wheels are controlled via upper body movements, leaving the user's hands free at all times.
The Kim-e has a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph), and can reportedly travel up to 30 km (19 miles) per four-hour charge of its lithium battery. It can also roll over obstacles up to 5 cm (2 inches) tall when using its standard tires, or 7 cm (2.8 in) when clad in off-road tires, plus it can climb slopes of up to 20 degrees. An integrated air shock absorber helps maintain a relatively smooth ride.
The whole thing is claimed to tip the scales at 38 kg (84 lb) and can accommodate users weighing between 40 and 90 kg (88 and 198 lb).
Source: Chronus Robotics