Oren Tamari, CEO and creator of UPnRIDE Robotics, explained to MedicalExpo what makes the convertible stand-up wheelchair special.
MedicalExpo: The market offers many standing wheelchair solutions. How does the UPnRIDE differ?
Oren Tamari: The existing products on the market are usually only for indoor use, and limited to even, level surfaces. There are also static solutions to help wheelchair users to stand up for a while. The UPnRIDE, however, is a functional solution that allows being mobile while standing.
MedicalExpo: How does it work?
Oren Tamari: The UPnRIDE provides extra stability because the center of gravity of the user does not move when he or she changes from sitting to standing. The person’s mass is never outside the wheelchair. Furthermore, the user sits on an active, stabilized platform like in a Segway. Therewith, one always remains vertical to earth, and can pass tripping hazards easily.
MedicalExpo: Can everybody use it or does it require training?
Oren Tamari: Everyone who uses a wheelchair can use the UPnRIDE. But, of course, patients who haven’t been standing for years and years should start slowly with maybe short periods each day.
MedicalExpo: Will there be further modifications to the UPnRIDE?
Oren Tamari: At the moment we have six models that are in use for demonstration, testing and trials in hospitals. We will start in March a clinical trial to verify the safety ot the device and to get users feedback, this trial will include outdoors use. Closer to the end of 2016, we will start trials at home.
In the long run, features like an inbuilt navigation device should be included. It could become a real smart wheelchair.
[UPnRIDE is the brainchild of Amit Goffer, who also founded ReWalk Robotics, a company we interviewed in this article about exoskeletons.]