Reinventing the Wheel...chair

Published in Design Inspiration on Jan 17, 2019 by Tim Marner™

The $4 million Mobility Unlimited Challenge supports radical improvements in the mobility and independence of people with lower-limb paralysis through smarter assistive technology. Hosted by The Toyota Mobility Foundation The Foundation aims to support strong mobility systems while eliminating disparities in mobility. It utilizes Toyota’s expertise in technology, safety, and the environment, working in partnership with universities, governments, non-profit organizations, research institutions and other organizations to address mobility issues around the world. Programs include resolving urban transportation problems, expanding the utilization of personal mobility, and developing solutions for next generation mobility. We’ve rounded up some of the best most cutting edge designs.


The EvoWalk device uses precisely timed muscle stimulation to rehabilitate walking form, prevent falls, and bring confidence back to your walking. EvoWalk is the first Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) device to use Artificial Intelligence to reliably track walking patterns and personalize stimulation. The EvoWalk device has improved the walking form of Multiple Sclerosis patients, ALS patients and Stroke victims. The EvoWalk could also be used for a variety of neuromuscular diseases such as Lumbar Degenerative Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, and others.


IHMC and MYOLYN are partnering to develop Quix - a robotic, powered exoskeleton with motors at the hips, knees and ankles, as well as additional actuators offering someone with lower-limb paralysis fast, stable, and agile upright mobility.  Utilizing modular actuation, perception technology from autonomous vehicles, and control algorithms for balancing autonomous humanoid robots, this device will deliver the mobility, safety, and independence that current exoskeletons cannot. The device will improve accessibility in society - especially at home and work.

Tim Marner Quix Exoskeleton

Phoenix Instinct

The Phoenix AI wheelchair is an ultra-lightweight manual wheelchair made from carbon-fiber.  Using smart sensors the chair will configure itself to what the user is doing so it remains in sync with how the user moves. The sensors detect if the user is leaning forward or back, algorithms will calculate the wheelchair’s response.

The Phoenix Ai will have many SMART functions never before seen in wheelchairs, at the core is intelligent centre of gravity.  The chair will continually adjust its centre of gravity to fit what the user is doing making for a chair that is easier to push and turn by eliminating drag and uncomfortable, painful vibration while also making the chair safe from falling backwards. Intelligent, lightweight power assist will make slopes easier to ascend while automatic braking will remove the need for users to grip the wheels to slow down.

Tim Marner Pheonix Instinct

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