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Wheelchair Users Go Off-Roading In A Tank-Inspired Ride

tank chair wheelchair

Photo: TC Mobility

When it comes to accommodating wheelchair users moving around a city, building ramps is the go-to option. But for those who want to explore the outdoors, not get onto the sidewalk or up a flight of stairs, it is not enough.Brad Soden came face to face with this reality in 2001 when his wheelchair-bound wife could not join the family on a hike through the mountains.

So he created the Tank Chair, a motorised wheelchair with tank treads. A decade later, his company, TC Mobility, sells a version that can drive through water, snow, and sand, thanks to high-torque electric motors. The latest version can even be controlled with the user’s head.

Based on its size, the Tank Chair is not suited for urban areas, but rather for disabled persons who live and work in rural areas.

Even there, however, there is a potential problem. ATVs have a propensity for damaging landscapes, and so does a wheelchair with tank treads. An English man lost the right to use his Tank Chair on public lands because of the vehicle’s size and weight, the Daily Mail reported last year.

The issue does not seem to have crossed to American shores yet, but it is a debate waiting to happen: the value of protecting public wilderness versus the importance of making it available to everyone.

tank chair wheelchair

Photo: TC Mobility

Watch Soden demonstrate the head-controlled version:

Now see a disabled Honduran man’s quest to build a helicopter from trash >
[Via Core77]

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