• Jun 14th 2014 at 9:02AM
  • 9
Meet the Whill Type-A. The product of a small group of engineers who worked at Japanese electronics companies and automakers - they started off with a motorized add-on for conventional wheelchairs three years ago - it's not a wheelchair, but a four-wheel-drive personal mobility device focused on style and maneuverability.

Small enough to fit in the back of a crossover or a car with a healthy rear end, it is just 23.6 inches wide, 32.5 inches long and has a turning radius of 28 inches. The tight swivel is thanks to its counter-rotating Omni Wheels in front, each of which is made up of 24 individual wheels that can slide sideways. Because those front wheels are powered, it helps the Whill handle dirt, gravel, grass and light snow, and it can climb inclines of ten degrees.

Whill has been designed with a number of convenience features: the seat slides fore and aft, the arm can be raised for easy entry, there are a back lights for increased visibility, hooks for backpacks and bags and slots for accessories like a cup holder and a light. On top of that, there are three control units available: a mouse, a joystick or an ergonomic controller. It's batteries can be charged in five hours and are good for a 15-mile trip.

The group behind Whill is running a Kickstarter campaign; as of writing, they'd gotten $11,200 of the $30,000 goal. They say the hardware is complete, the funds they're after now will go toward finishing the development of the software and the iPhone app, the latter of which will allow users to control the Whill remotely. The videos below will put pictures to words, or head on over to Whill's Kickstarter page for the deep rundown.

WHILL Type-A debut from WHILL on Vimeo.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Gregg Alley
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like a gigantic set of headphones.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Unless they addressed the issue to make this thing work "with a healthy rear end", this will be limited to only the Japanese market.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Notice..it' refered to as the Type-A. something tells me if it is successfull, there will be additional models/variants. That may include versions for those of "larger stature". Simply give it time. Remember, it's still essentially in prototype form. It's an excellent beginning.
      George Krpan
      • 1 Year Ago
      As if there aren't enough people who are obese and adipose from NEVER walking or riding a bike.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good idea -- BUT. if you ever took the bus in Portland, Oregon, you would see that something this narrow with wide sidepieces is not going to fit the large people you see in motorized chairs. Fail due to poor study of who actually uses these -- and a good chance of being called out for discrimination against heavy people.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow. Lots of negative Nancys. The inspiration was from his friend who was in a wheelchair. I think it is fantastic start. It is a great step forward in changing an antiquated design. For those making comments about people who are obese, shame on you. So to equate people in wheel chairs as lazy is insensitive to those who have medical issues that they might not be able to walk at all, or are unable to do exercises. Good luck to this company and I wish them the best.
      • 1 Year Ago
      The man in the second video seems to have lots of muscle tone in his legs to need a mobility device.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seems indeed a lot different from a wheelchair. Nice work, team!
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