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honda's hands-free wheelchair 'UNI-ONE' moves like a hoverboard

Hands-free wheelchair ‘uni-one’ from honda

 

Honda (Japan) is developing a hands-free wheelchair named UNI-ONE that glides as users tilt their bodies in the direction they want to move. Based on Honda’s robotics concepts, the chair design of the motorized seat offers people with mobility problems to let their hands freely do the activities they want to do, from joining a sports competition to reaching objects from the top shelf.

hands-free wheelchair honda
images courtesy of Honda (Japan)

 

 

When users are seated, the hands-free wheelchair descends to a low position, and it ascends to a certain level when it is used for moving. Unlike ordinary wheelchair, UNI-ONE is smart enough to know when it should stop rising and reaches the eye level of other people.

 

This gives the users a sense of not being looked down at and helps them communicate at the same height. Honda discloses that the team is still in the research and development phase, but they have already developed and incorporated their in-house technology to make the hands-free wheelchair work.

hands-free wheelchair honda
back view

 

 

It’s equipped with a posture sensor

 

Honda injects its human-coordinated balance control technology into the hands-free wheelchair which includes a posture sensor that detects the natural movement of a walking person. The data the team draws from the system reviews the stance and body angle of the person when they walk and how fast they take their steps. Using this data, the team can estimate the direction the users want to go to when they sit in the hands-free wheelchair. 

hands-free wheelchair honda
high position

 

 

Based on the data, the team also performs stabilization controller and calculations which make sure that the wheels of the wheelchair will not launch the users from sitting. The information also senses the natural behavior of the users, so that the wheels don’t glide too fast or too slow.

 

Thanks to this technology and these calculations, a wide range of people, from the elderly to children, can operate the hands-free wheelchair with ease. The stabilized rolling makes it easier for the wheelchair to weather small and sharp turns. On top of this, Honda is now developing systems for people with lower-limb problems so that they can still maintain balance while seated in the wheelchair.

hands-free wheelchair honda
low position

 

 

It automatically detects system errors

 

Honda has also thought of the uneven grounds and roads which can impact the rider’s posture. To avoid this, the team installed soft rubber for the wheels and on the seats’s surface to better balance the rider when they roll on the road or switch between the low and high positions.

 

Through this rubber skin, rough bumps on the road are easily overcome. Honda shares that the mode transitions are normally activated using a button on the side, but in case the rider encounters a system error, the hands-free wheelchair automatically switches to the low position to prevent the chair from tipping over. 

honda-hands-free-wheelchair-uni-one-designboom-1800

hands-free wheelchair ‘UNI-ONE’ from Honda

hands-free wheelchair honda
the hands-free wheelchair moves like a hoverboard

hands-free wheelchair honda
it relies on the posture sensor to detect the user’s movement

honda-hands-free-wheelchair-uni-one-designboom-ban

hands-free wheelchair ‘UNI-ONE’ from Honda

 

project info:

 

name: UNI-ONE

company: Honda (Japan)

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