Electric bikes: not just good for the environment, also good for humanity. According to Gizmodo, technology developed for electric bikes could also work to make manual wheelchairs work like electric wheelchairs, but without the extremely high price tag.
[A]dapting technology that powers modern electric bikes, Yamaha’s JWX-2 electric assist gives that same mobility for less — and can be retrofitted to almost any manually driven wheelchair.
What’s unique about the system is that it works in tandem with the rider’s own arm motions, in essence amplifying their manual efforts. And the unit can adapt itself on a per-wheel basis to compensate for users who may be stronger in one arm than the other.
As the Hairpin recently noted, this is a not insignificant market opportunity:
There is a gigantic opportunity to make wheelchairs not only function better but also to LOOK COOL but nobody’s doing it. At least not that I’m aware of. Why can’t my wheelchair be a working piece of badass art?
Electric bikes tend to look a little space-agey, but still, the wheelchair-electric bike mind-meld seems like a move in the right direction.