Self-balancing robotic wheelchair helps give visibility to those with disabilities

January 25, 2024

There are many privileges that come with being able-bodied. Just the act of standing up or sitting down without assistance is often taken for granted by people with no visible disabilities.

But now, the Lithuania-based company Chronus Robotics has designed a self-balancing mobility robot that hopes to bring this freedom and visibility to those with lower limb disadvantages, reports My Modern Met.

Called Kim-e, this innovative Segway-like wheelchair helps people with disabilities navigate the world in a more visible and comfortable way.

“The idea to create an innovative mobility device was inspired by motorsport. Over the years, we have seen many people using wheelchairs in motorsport. Most of them use manual wheelchairs—even those from Formula One teams working with the most advanced technologies in the world,” writes Chronus Robotics, adding,  “This led to the idea of creating a personal mobility robot that would allow people to communicate freely and work with dignity.”

After ten years of planning and modifications, the first model was made, which ultimately led to the final product, Kim-e.

Photos and videos of the product highlight its striking differences compared to wheelchairs that are commonplace today. “Our challenge was to keep the person visible while leaving not only the wheelchair but also the disability unnoticed,” explains Chronus Robotics.

“Using our patent pending technologies, we have achieved our goal: If Kim-e is to be called a wheelchair, it is an invisible one.”

Rather than being bulky, Kim-e has a streamlined body that supports the legs and back of the user. The ergonomic design helps keep the user comfortable as he or she controls the device to travel up to 12 mph; and to change his or her position from elevated at eye-level with others, to sitting down.

Kim-e also is controlled by the user’s upper body movements—making it hands-free. The robot is powered by a lithium battery that can travel up to 19 miles on a full four-hour charge. It can also be folded down for easy travel.

Research contact: @mymodernmet