A wheelchair-bound motorless treadmill is now ready to take the world by storm.
The “autonomous” treadmill, which is about to take off in Melbourne, Australia, will be able to travel around the city and its suburbs with the help of a Bluetooth-enabled GPS unit that the wheelchair user has already programmed to track the movements of the device.
“You have a map of where you want to go, which means the wheelchair is able to tell the GPS where it’s going and where it should go,” said Todd McKeown, the founder of McKeon and Associates, the firm behind the new machine.
This video shows the “autosmart” treadmill that McKeons is developing, with an autonomous GPS unit on top.
In addition to the GPS unit, the wheelchair will have its own power supply and a range of sensors that will allow the wheelchair to move and navigate in any weather.
Unlike many wheelchairs that can only move on one axis, the new “auto” treadmill will have a range-of-motion capability that can travel over a wide range of surfaces, including water.
“[The treadmill] will be the first fully self-powered wheelchair in the world,” McKean said.
While the “wheelchair” in the video is still in the early stages of development, the company is already using the wheelchair for several commercial projects and is now working on the development of a prototype.
It has already tested out the treadmill on the ground in the Sydney suburb of Kingsford, and hopes to have the machine in the hands of patients in the next two weeks.
According to the company’s website, the “Autonomous Wheelchair” will cost $3,000 to develop and manufacture, with the hope that it will be available to the public within two years.
McKeon, who has previously developed a range that was able to run for two hours, said he and his team had been approached by a number of wheelchair users who were interested in having their own wheelchair.
A user with a wheelchair has a GPS unit mounted on the back of their wheelchair, which they can track the user’s movements and track the movement of the wheelchair using their smartphone.
After being developed and tested by McKeawn, the product will go on sale in the first quarter of next year.