The term "next gen" is synonymous with certain things like gaming consoles, graphics cards and wheelchairs... wait, what? Yes, you read it right, wheelchairs. Veda International Robot R&D Center, located in Japan (big surprise) has completely blown away all normal conventions of the wheelchair, if you can even call it that anymore. With its slick and innovative design not only does it look cool (yes I said the wheelchair looks "cool") but the design also improves upon its functionality and ease of use on both the rider and any caregivers as well.
The "universal vehicle" or Rodem has an accelerator that can keep the user moving along at 2mph for up to 4 hours on a single charge. It also uses a joystick to control motion which is also part of its ergonomic design. With a normal wheelchair there are seven steps to go from lying in a bed to being comfortably positioned in the chair. Rodem is designed to reduce this to 3 steps making it easier on everyone who may be involved in the process. Veda International plans to put Rodem in mass production this fall and you can pick up one of these nifty gifties for $5,300 - $7,500 apiece.
When I go visit Japan in the future riding one of these is now on my to-do-list and if nothing else this just foreshadows how awesome it would be to be an elderly person in Japan where the Autobots are your health care providers and Pokémon are your pets.
This is indeed interesting so tell us what you think.