Kim-e electric wheelchair lets users ride freely at eye level

Self-balancing Kim-e Electric Wheelchair
The Kim-e elevates users to a partially upright stance, enabling this position during both motion and when at rest. Images courtesy Chronus Robotics

In the world of mobility aids, the Kim-e electric wheelchair emerges as an innovative solution, specifically designed to address a common concern among wheelchair users: the inability to stand at the same height as others. This unique wheelchair, produced by the Lithuanian company Chronus Robotics, not only offers traditional seated mobility but also the remarkable feature of elevating its user to a standing position.

Launched four years ago and now available for test rides, the Kim-e wheelchair stands out with its two-wheeled, self-balancing design. This design is pivotal in enabling users to rise into an upright stance within seconds. The transformation is facilitated by a powered scissor-lift-type mechanism that not only elevates the seat but also tilts it, allowing users to (virtually) stand eye-level with those not using wheelchairs. To ensure safety during this process, thigh straps are incorporated to prevent the user from sliding out.

Another significant advantage of the Kim-e wheelchair is its hands-free operation. Both the seat-raising mechanism and the powered wheels are controlled by upper body movements. This feature is particularly beneficial as it leaves the user’s hands free for other tasks, enhancing independence and convenience.

The Kim-e’s performance specifications are equally impressive. It boasts a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph) and a range of 30 km (19 miles) on a four-hour charge of its lithium battery. This range is substantial for day-to-day activities, making it a practical choice for various lifestyles.

Self-balancing Kim-e Electric Wheelchair Speed
The Kim-e electric wheelchair has a top speed of 20 km/h (12 mph).

Moreover, the wheelchair’s capability to navigate over obstacles is notable. With standard tires, it can roll over obstacles up to 5 cm (2 inches) tall, and this capability increases to 7 cm (2.8 inches) with off-road tires. Additionally, the Kim-e can tackle slopes of up to 20 degrees, aided by an integrated air shock absorber that ensures a smooth ride.

In terms of physical specifications, the Kim-e wheelchair is relatively lightweight, weighing 38 kg (84 lb), and can accommodate users weighing between 40 and 90 kg (88 and 198 lb). This range makes it suitable for a wide array of users, adding to its versatility.

Self-balancing Kim-e Electric Wheelchair Folded for Transport
When not in use, the Kim-e can be compactly folded for easy transport in a vehicle.

While pricing and availability details are still pending, the potential impact of the Kim-e wheelchair on the quality of life for its users is undeniable. It promises not just mobility but an enhanced level of independence and interaction, allowing users to stand tall literally and figuratively. The combination of innovative design, user-friendly features, and impressive performance metrics positions the Kim-e as a noteworthy contender in the modern wheelchair market. As we await further details on its commercial release, the Kim-e wheelchair stands as a beacon of innovation in personal mobility.

Source: Chronus Robotics