Our Innovative Technology series is dedicated to bringing you the latest news and breakthroughs in mobility device design, medical breakthroughs, and more. Whether you are using a wheelchair, walker, scooter or power chair, keep checking back to the HDS Medallion Blog to keep up on the newest innovations in the world of disability technology!
Over the past decade, we’ve watched the technology we use every day rapidly evolve. From phones to televisions, computers to household appliances, nearly everything we use today is far more advanced than what we were using only a few years ago. Shouldn’t that also be the case with mobility devices? WHILL certainly believes so, and their revolutionary new model is leading many to believe the future is now. We saw WHILL at last year’s Boston Abilites Expo, and decided to learn more about it. Here’s what we discovered!
It only takes a quick glance to realize the WHILL Model A is a significantly different from the mobility devices we’re used to seeing. The sleek style, uniquely designed wheels and new control mechanisms make the Model A look as if it was pulled from a science fiction movie. However, make no mistake; the design of this chair isn’t just for show. Every aspect of the Model A that looks different than other mobility devices also provides functionality that older models can’t match.
One of the difficult choices that those in need of mobility devices have to make when deciding on a model is whether to sacrifice obstacle clearance for a tight turning radius, or vice versa. Previous models simply weren’t designed to offer both. WHILL’s Model A doesn’t ask you to make that choice. The Model A is the first mobility device to offer All Directional Wheel Technology, along with four wheel drive, providing an incredibly tight turning radius. When combined with wheels that are composed of twenty-four individual rollers, it means the chair can handle a wide variety of terrains that other mobility devices simply couldn’t traverse. The larger wheels also provide up to 3” of obstacle clearance, allowing the device to tackle curbs or bumps with ease.
The Model A also handles sharp inclines without issue. Being headquartered in San Francisco, WHILL understood better than most that hills can be a real challenge, and they wanted a device that was up to the task. The Model A can handle a 10 degree incline with ease, more than double the incline of a standard accessibility ramp. It also has an electromagnetic brake system that automatically engages when the chair is stopped on an incline, to avoid any unwanted rolling. That braking system simply disengages when the device is propelled forward again, meaning the chair works for you without the need for additional input from the user. That’s a real plus for someone whose motor functions may be limited.
WHILL’s innovative use of technology doesn’t stop with the wheels and brakes, however. The Model A offers battery life previously unheard of in mobility devices, offering up to twelve miles on a full charge. To put that in perspective, you could cross the Golden Gate Bridge six times before needing to recharge! The Model A is also Bluetooth enabled, and WHILL has designed a powerful app for your phone or tablet that offers a wide range of control options right at your fingertips. You can drive the Model A using the app (even when you’re not riding it), change the speed settings for the device, or lock the machine so no one can use it. Considering all the innovation packed into this device, it’s not surprising that they’ve won a number of prestigious design awards, most recently taking the 2015 Good Design Award grand prize.
We were able to take a look at the Model A at last year’s Boston Abilities Expo, and we can absolutely confirm that the device is just as impressive in person as it sounds. WHILL also promises a commitment to customer care, and judging from our interactions with the company, their customers are definitely in good hands. Best of all, we were able to confirm that our HDS Medallion Designer CarryAll Bags look and work great on this device, as you can see pictured below! HDS Medallion and WHILL: two innovative products that are fabulously functional!
Mobility devices were invented to offer freedom to those who need them, and WHILL has truly embraced this concept. By creating a device with exceptionally long operating range, the latest technology, and the ability to handle terrain and inclines other devices simply can’t, WHILL is offering a level of independence previously unheard of from mobility devices. With the Model A, the future of mobility devices is here, and we can’t wait to see what else WHILL has planned!
HDS Medallion's Designer CarryAll Bags are fabulously functional on a WHILL Mobility Device!