One of the biggest challenges wheelchair users face on a daily basis is that of storing their chair when they are in transit. Wheelchairs—especially electric wheelchairs—tend to be large and bulky, and even collapsible ones take up a lot of space in a trunk, hatchback, or airplane compartment. Folding and unfolding the chairs can be trying as well, often requiring more than a little assistance by friends. It can be frustrating.
Now, however, a new electric wheelchair called the Zinger is about to hit the market (this fall, according to the web site), and its creators claim that, at 41 pounds including motor and battery, it’s the lightest wheelchair in the world. Even better, when collapsed it folds up just like a lawn chair and lays completely flat. This allows for easy storage and transport.
Before you get too excited, however, it’s important to note that the Zinger isn’t exactly designed for permanent or long-term use. It has a battery range of only about eight miles before needing to be recharged, and can only reach speeds of up to six miles an hour. The chair has no armrests or other means of securing the user. This may not be the chair for for those with permanent disabilities.
That said, this may be just the device for those with occasional mobility issues who are able to sometimes walk and use a wheelchair for relief. The controls consist of joysticks on each side of the chair, and though it’s simple enough to turn the chair around with it, there is a motorized reverse if needed. Because the functionality is similar to that of a zero-radius riding lawnmower, it’s easy to spin around and go forward without accessing reverse. To go forward, the user pushes both levers down. Pulling both levers back slows the device, and one lever forward with the other one back spins the chair, which Zinger says, “turns on a dime.”
It’s an innovative concept and represents an intriguing first step in improving the portability of electric wheelchairs. The device requires no set-up or assembly, and it includes a beginner’s mode for those who have never used a device like it before. This mode restricts speed to help prevent accidents from lack of control. The first accessories available for the Zinger include a cup holder, arm rests, and a basket.
A price hasn’t been set for the chair at the moment. The designers and manufacturers of Zinger say the chair is “not a medical device and it’s not exactly a recreational vehicle. It’s a smart device invented in the USA for your comfort and enjoyment.”
Watch the video to see the Zinger do its thing. What are some opportunities when the Zinger might come in handy for you?
Source: ams vans