Rendering of the UPnRIDE in standing position, taken from Israel 21c.
The minds behind ReWalk Robotics are taking a new stand for those suffering from spinal cord injury.
There has been much coverage of the incredible ReWalk Exoskeleton, a revolutionary technology developed by Dr. Amit Goffer that enables those with lower-limb disabilities to walk once more. Recently, it became the first wearable exoskeleton to receive FDA approval for personal and community use, enabling it to expand its life-changing capabilities.
However, not everyone is able to use the ReWalk – including Dr. Goffer himself – as it is only suitable for use by paraplegics, who have full use of their arms, rather than quadruplegics or those with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Goffer has teamed up with RehaMed Technologies CEO, Oren Tamari, to work on a solution suitable for everyone in a wheelchair: the UPnRIDE. “I have the benefit of being confined to a wheelchair so I tried to create the ultimate solution for the handicapped as I see it. The person on the outside will see it as a Segway and not a wheelchair. For the younger generation of handicapped individuals, this is especially important.”
Though this is by no means the first idea for a standing wheelchair, the UPnRIDE differs from traditional offers in a very important way.
“The twist we bring here is the stabilization,” says Tamari.
“Other solutions on the market may only be used indoors because they move the center of gravity out of the chair and there would be a fall on a slope. The UPnRIDE will stabilize the user no matter what surface he rides on. He’ll stay vertical to the ground even if it’s uneven or sloping. This is the essence of this product, because we can maintain the center of gravity and allow full mobility in standing position.”
In addition, the UPnRIDE has a feature akin to a car’s airbags. It identifies when its user is likely to fall and in response releases ‘safety arms’ to catch them and put them safely back in place.
Goffer and Tamari are currently engaging in fundraising for further development of the device. It is currently in the design phase with hopes to have the first prototype out within a matter of months.