Rodem Next-Gen Wheelchair Doesn’T Look Like a Wheelchair at All
August 28th, 2009
Gundam fans! Veda (Vader?) is real! And it’s in Japan of course. Fortunately the Veda International Robot Research and Development Centre isn’t out to control or enslave humanity. It’s a joint project by robotics company Tmsuk Co. along with 10 other universities and research institutions. Veda’s first project is 0 Raiser. No wait it’s Rodem – a not-wheelchair that looks like the front half of a huge motorcycle.
The scientists who are developing Rodem want to make the people who use wheelchairs more independent. As high tech as this not-wheelchair looks, it’s shape was dictated mostly by common sense. The half-motorcycle setup makes it easier for users to get on or off the Rodem. It also “promises greater mobility”, though I don’t suppose it’ll zip the elderly around at motorcycle speeds. It’s not visible in the pictures, but according to Physorg, users will steer the Rodem using a joystick instead of the handlebars.
Right now Rodem isn’t much of a robot, but the people at Veda still want to add more features to the not-wheelchair; for example, Tmsuk president Yoichi Takamoto said, “…we could add a new function so it comes to your bedside when you call.” That’s a helpful and robotic feature, Takamoto-sensei. My only concern about the Rodem is it’s lack of a backrest, which means that users won’t be able to take a nap while riding it. My other concern is that it’s not a wheelchair, so people shouldn’t be calling it a wheelchair. It’s a wheelsaddle is what it is.