Innovative carbon fiber wheelchair design garners $1 million from Toyota Mobility in prize money
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Toyota Mobility announced a cash prize winner in its international mobility competition, which challenged people around the world to find solutions to improve the lives of people with lower extremity paralysis. Finalists from Japan, Italy, the UK and the US were considered, but the UK’s Phoenix Instinct received the US $ 1 million prize pool.
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The winning product? An ultra-light carbon wheelchair with some innovative features. It's called the Phoenix Instinct, and it's designed to fuel the generally stagnant wheelchair technology industry to make it easier and safer to use. The wheelchair uses a leveling system to automatically adjust its center of gravity and make it more stable / easier to maneuver. A power assistance function is implemented on the front wheels to reduce vibrations through the body. Finally, an intelligent braking system is used that automatically detects when you are going downhill, then adjusts the speed of the wheelchair and manages the descent.
Phoenix's carbon fiber design also caught our attention. There is no exact weight for the wheelchair but its choice of materials certainly helps in minimizing the weight to make it competitive against what is on the market today. With this new funding from Toyota, Phoenix has the money to bring the wheelchair to the consumer market.
In case you were curious about the other finalists, Toyota provided renderings and brief descriptions for all of them. You can see the photos and read brief descriptions of the last four finalists listed below:
The Evowalk: A wearable device that reaches below the knee to provide timely support to your muscles by rehabilitating walking and preventing falls for those with foot drops.
Qolo: A standing or sitting device that integrates wheelchair and exoskeleton technologies into one.
Quix: A powered exoskeleton that enables fast, stable, and upright mobility.
Wheel-i: An electric ride-sharing mobility vehicle for wheelchair users that is both electric and semi-autonomous.
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