Travel-savvy wheelchair folds to become a carry-on bag
Air travel can be difficult for the mobility-challenged … they either have to procure a wheelchair at the airport, or make sure that their own chair gets stowed in the luggage hold. British engineer Richard Williams has developed an alternative, in the form of a folding wheelchair that doubles as a carry-on bag.
Known as the Traveller Chair, the device features an aluminum frame, and reportedly tips the scales at approximately 6 kg (13 lb).
When being used primarily as a bag, it can be carried via either a built-in handle or a shoulder strap, offering a cargo capacity of about 17 liters. It also has an "easy-to-reach" pouch for travel documents. According to Williams, its folded-up dimensions allow it to fit in a plane's overhead locker, meeting the carry-on requirements of over 40 airlines.
Within a claimed 30 seconds, though, it can fold out to become a pushed wheelchair with armrests, a footrest and a lap strap – while still containing the user's belongings. In that mode, it can accommodate people weighing up to 100 kg (220 lb). A rear brake keeps it from accidentally rolling away when parked.
Should you be interested, the Traveller Chair is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of £435 (about US$561) will get you one, when and if they reach production. The planned retail price is £485 ($626).