Innovative carbon fiber wheelchair design garners $1 million from Toyota Mobility in prize money

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Toyota Mobility has announced a prize winner in the international mobility competition that challenged people around the world to come up with solutions to improve the lives of people with lower limb paralysis. Finalists from Japan, Italy, UK and US were considered, but Phoenix Instinct from the UK ended up walking away with the $ 1 million prize pool.

The winning product? An ultra-light carbon fiber wheelchair with some innovative features. It’s called the Phoenix Instinct, and it aims to advance the generally stagnant wheelchair technology industry to make it easier and safer. The wheelchair uses a leveling system to automatically adjust the center of gravity and make it more stable / easier to maneuver. A support function has been implemented on the front wheels to reduce vibrations through the body. Finally, it uses an intelligent power braking system that can automatically detect when you are going downhill, then adjust the speed of the wheelchair and manage the descent.

Phoenix’s carbon fiber design also caught our attention. There is no exact weight stated for the wheelchair, but the choice of materials certainly helps to minimize the weight and make it competitive with what is currently on the market. With this new financing from Toyota, Phoenix says it has the money to bring the wheelchair to the consumer market.

In case you were curious about the other finalists, Toyota provided all the renderings and short descriptions. You can view the photos and read short descriptions of the last four finalists below:

The Evowalk: A portable device that goes below the knee to support your muscles at the right time by helping to rehabilitate walking and prevent falls for those with foot drop.

Qolo: a standing or sitting device that integrates wheelchair and exoskeleton technologies in one.

Quix: a powered exoskeleton that enables fast, stable and upright mobility.

Wheel-i: an electrically powered mobility vehicle for wheelchair users that is both electric and semi-autonomous.

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