Toyota teams up with Dean Kamento launch second-gen iBOT

Toyota teams up with Dean Kamento launch second-gen iBOT

According to an agreement announced at Paralyzed Veterans of America’s 70th Annual Convention in St. Petersburg, Fla., Toyota is partnering with Segway creator Dean Kamen to launch a second-generation version of Kamen’s innovative iBOT motorized wheelchair.

The new version of the iBOT wheelchair will be developed as a collaborative effort between Toyota and Kamen’s DEKA Research and Development unit.

The original version of the iBOT motorized wheelchair -- which could climb stairs and handle diverse terrain -- was launched by Kamen nearly 16 years back. However, the production of the wheelchair was discontinued in 2009, apparently due to its $25,000 prohibitive price tag.

The second-generation version of the iBOT wheelchair to be created by Toyota and DEKA will apparently provide more mobility for the disabled. The wheelchair will have two small wheels on each side; and will be extendable from a sitting height to a standing height, thereby enabling users to be nearly 6 feet tall. The wheel arrangement of the new iBOT will give it the ability to go up and down stairs, and navigate rough terrains.

About the Toyota-DEKA partnership for the second-generation iBOT, Kamen said in a video posted online on Sunday: “I’m happy to tell you that our goal is to bring back the iBOT. We’d like to take everything that was great about the original iBOT and then enhance it with 15 years of improvements in technology.”