Social distancing and being pushed in a wheelchair – the two simply aren’t compatible. But a solution already exists; the WHILL Model C can be driven from your smartphone app.
Using Bluetooth technology to connect to the chair, the iPhone app displays an interactive image of the mouse-style joystick so it can be steered as if using the joystick itself. The app can also monitor battery life in real time, lock and unlock the chair for your security and drive it out the way when not being occupied - which is ideal if you're trnasferring into bed and wish to send the chair away.
It means being able to be pushed by a healthcare professional or friend can be possible from a two-metre distance instead of relying on a household member.
“The WHILL’s tried and tested technology allows the chair to be moved using a smartphone app from a distance of up to 20 metres," TGA's Managing Director, Daniel Stone, says. "Walking together and retaining a safe distance is easy and manageable – we believe it’s a game-changing wheelchair solution.
“When you consider social distancing may stay for a little while, the heightened value of the WHILL is plain to see.”
It’s not the first time WHILL have been at the forefront of powerchair innovation, though. It has won awards for its design which includes omni wheels to allow the chair to turn 360 degress on its axis.
Self-driving Model Cs were also trialled in North American airports for travellers with restricted mobility, using sensors on the armrests to eliminate the risk of collisions. These sensors could be developed to become the ultimate form of social distancing technology for wheelchair users in future.
Users were able to be driven to their gate and upon arrival, command the WHILL to return to its docking station. It is all part of WHILL’s vision to use technology to make journeys hassle-free for those with limited mobility.