Self-bal­anc­ing wheel­chair on pedrails smoothly climbs any stairs

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

BE­CAUSE doc­tors like to call su­per bike riders “or­gan donors”, news of a new wheel­chair seems apt for plac­ing on this bik­ing page.

Alan Lee started B-Free Tech­nol­ogy in 2010, af­ter read­ing a media re­port about a young para­plegic in Hong Kong who had locked him­self in his room for eight years be­cause he could not ne­go­ti­ate five stairs out­side.

Lee said those five steps kept a shy, young man house­bound be­cause it was not al­ways pos­si­ble for peo­ple to help him down the stairs, and he ended up liv­ing like a pris­oner in his room.

This fate is the same for many other wheelchair­bound peo­ple in Hong Kong, which poses many prob­lems and in­con­ve­niences for wheel­chair bound peo­ple. They just can­not get around with­out help.

Lee said to help them he started cre­at­ing an af­ford­able wheel chair to climb all the city’s typ­i­cal bar­ri­ers.

He suc­cess­fully tested the first chair with nar­row tank tracks in Oc­to­ber 2011 and has now patented the B-Free chair.

The B-Free Chair was of­fi­cially launched late last year and was last week shown at the In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion of In­ven­tions in Geneva. Equipped with non-slip pedrails, this fold­able pedrail power wheel­chair moves smoothly over ob­sta­cles and up or down stairs, with the pedrails ad­just­ing to keep the chair mov­ing smooth and level.

“We are now work­ing with a num­ber of agen­cies and ne­go­ti­at­ing pro­posal to mar­ket our prod­uct as fast as pos­si­ble.

The ul­ti­mate goal is to en­able more wheel­chair users to break through all ob­sta­cles and live in a real bar­rier-free world,” said Lee in a state­ment.

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

In­ven­tor Alan Lee climbs stairs on his wheel­chair at a trade show.

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