Toyota Mobility Foundation together with Nesta Challenges established the three-year Mobility Unlimited Challenge that called talented engineers, innovators and designers from around the world for ground-breaking devices – integrated with the latest technologies – to enhance the mobility and independence of people with lower-limb paralysis.
The foundation last month brought the competition to a close last month with Phoenix Instinct from the UK emerging as the winner among 80 entries from 28 countries, receiving US$1 million to further develop its intelligent ultra-light carbon fibre wheelchair and bring it to market to transform the lives of millions in the disabled community.
The Phoenix I uses intelligent systems to automatically adjust its centre of gravity, making the ultra-lightweight carbon fibre frame extremely stable and easier to manoeuvre. It uses front-wheel power-assist to reduce painful vibrations and minimise strain on the user. The chair’s intelligent powered braking system automatically detects when the user is going downhill and adjusts to manage the user’s descent.
‘It’s a very exciting time with Toyota moving into the mobility sector, we’re going to see significant advances in mobility devices. At Phoenix Instinct we’re thrilled to be leading the smart wheelchair revolution,’ Slorance, the CEO of Phoenix Instinct, said.
‘Mobility means freedom. It means liberation from being limited in life. As we believe at Toyota, when we are free to move, we are able to fully participate in society, and I’m excited for each of these devices supported by the Mobility Unlimited Challenge, particularly the winning device, because of how it will allow so many people to better do what they want to do,’ said Philip Craven, member of the board of directors at Toyota Motor Corporation and former president of the International Paralympic Committee.