The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability and 13.7 percent of those people have a mobility disability with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
In Switzerland 10 master students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology wanted to develop a new generation wheelchair that would provide more accessibility and freedom for it's users to go wherever life takes them.
The biggest challenge for wheelchair users is stairs. So the students created the Scewo Bro wheelchair.
The Scewo Bro is an electric, stair-climbing wheelchair with self-balancing, segway technology to make it easier for the user to rotate on the spot and to drive over curbs without getting stuck. It is controlled by using your smartphone or the integrated touch screen and joy stick.
This amazing wheelchair uses rubber tracks to safely climb stairs, even spiral staircases. In a BBC article, one of the student designers, Thomas Gemperle, explained “Stairs are climbed sitting backward and driven down in the forward position. The tracks adapt to the angle of the stair automatically and keep the user level at all times."
Thomas also added, “With our special drive-train we have a wide stand on the stairs which makes it impossible to tip over in any direction."
Another feature of the Scewo Bro is “elevated mode”. This feature raises the wheelchair up for an eye level conversation or for reaching objects up high.
The Scewo Bro charges in 5 hours with any household outlet and folds down into a compact size to fit in the smallest of cars.
According to a CNN article, Jose Di Felice from Switzerland, was paralyzed in both legs and 1 arm after a high-speed motorcycle accident 3 years ago.
He discovered the Scewo Bro on Youtube and requested a test drive. Di Felice test drove the wheelchair at his town hall. He told CNN, "It was really emotional to go up these stairs, and look down there and say that it's possible."
It is anticipated the Scewo Bro wheelchairs will be distributed to users by the end of 2019. Di Felice will be one of the first to receive this life changing wheelchair.