Previous iBOT wheelchairs costed $25,000.
Toyota has teamed up with Dean Kamen to support mobility solutions for the disabled community and develop the next generation iBOT motorized wheelchair. The announcement for the agreements was made during the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s 70th Annual Convention.
The Japanese manufacturer will be working in cooperation with DEKA, a New Hampshire-based company founded by Kamen in 1982, and explains the iBOT is a “revolutionary” motorized wheelchair that is powered by two sets of wheels. They can be rotated to allow the user to literally walk up and down stairs. Also, the wheelchair allows users to rise from a sitting level to approximately six feet in height and travel in this standing configuration.
“Our company is very focused on mobility solutions for all people,” Osamu Nagata, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Toyota Motor North America, commented. “We realize that it is important to help older adults and people with special needs live well and continue to contribute their talents and experience to the world.”
Previous generations of the iBOT were stopped from production mainly due to cost reasons. Only a few hundred were sold per year at a price of $25,000 with $5,000 subsidy from Medicare. The return of the iBOT was announced in 2014, when Kamen said the new model would be out in “less than two years.”
“Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability,” commented Dean Kamen, 65. “We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality.”