Friday, 27 May 2016
Toyota reaffirms med tech R&D commitment with motorized wheelchair deal
Automotive giant Toyota Motor is teaming up with Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, to create a next-generation wheelchair for disabled people and the elderly. The move comes after Toyota announced last year that it would sink $1 billion into artificial intelligence and robotics.
Under the terms of the deal, Toyota will license balancing technologies held by Kamen's DEKA Research and Development for medical rehab and other purposes. The companies will continue to have "ongoing discussions" about how Toyota and DEKA can develop mobility assistance technology, Toyota said in a statement.
Ultimately, Toyota will help DEKA launch its iBOT motorized wheelchair. The chair includes two sets of powered wheels that rotate to allow the user to "walk" up and down stairs, and also a "standing" configuration that helps people rise from sitting level to 6 feet in height.