FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

"Walking Wheelchair" Carries People

An age-old problem with wheelchairs has been getting them up and down stairs and over rough terrain. Researchers at Waseda University in Tokyo may have hit upon a solution with a walking robot capable of carrying a person.

According to New Scientist, the device, code named WL-16, uses a series of telescopic poles that serve as legs, and can carry an adult weighing up to 130 pounds. The WL-16 can only step up a few millimeters, but the researchers plan further models that will be able to negotiate stairs. Future models will also feature joystick controls that will allow the user to control speed and direction. Theoretically, the WL-16 and its successors could also carry other robots.

Source: Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends