Sunday, December 21, 2008


to all for the suggestions. I'm still thinking
about things that can be done. I'd love to get
together with a group of others. Maybe we can
arrange to meet up in Las Vegas or something?
Anyone interested?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

And another thing...

I believe someone needs to file a class action
suit against Medicare for classifying the iBOT
as a luxury.

They say going outside of our homes is a luxury.
That's discrimination.

What to do about Independence Technology

I'm just a quiet little mouse who is very uneducated
in matters like this, but I cannot sit back and watch
the iBOT die. Suggestions on what I and others can
do is greatly appreciated.

When a friend of mine (not an iBOT user, or even
disabled) found out about IT yesterday, he wrote to
Johnson and Johnson boycotting their products. J &
J is a huge company and IT is a division of J & J.
Obviously IT isn't making money from the bot. Without
enough insurance companies paying for them and at a
cost of $26,000, not enough people are able to get
an iBOT. I don't know how many iBOTs have been sold,
but I'm guessing it's less than 500. Of course this
is not a money making project for J & J. I even
spoke with the rep about this numerous times before
and after I got my iBOT. He said that J & J were in
in for the long haul. They knew it wouldn't be a
money maker for many many years, but they were
committed to it. So what happened?

Like my friend, I will be boycotting J & J products.
I will also do my best to spread the word so that
others will do the same.

I will also write to Dean Kamen. The guy the brilliant,
and obviously proud of the iBOT. I can't believe that
he will sit back and watch the iBOT die.

I've never done anything like this before, but I think
we need to organize some kind of rally. Image 100+ iBOT
users positioned all in the highest setting in balance
gathered outside J & J?

Anyone with me?

Nancy, Utah guy, Irv, Scott, others (Pat?).... what can we do?

I've been sick in bed for over a week now, so I'm not
quite myself these days... I would like to say that I'm
not about to sit back and quietly watch the iBOT die. I
do not know what I can do at this point, but I have a
few ideas in my head.

Are you with me? I'd be devastated to give up my bot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

IT will stop selling the iBOT

It's true. Independence Technology has announced they
will no longer sell the iBOT as of January 2009. Support
and service will continue until 2013 however.

The reason for this? Medicare says the iBOT is a luxury.
They won't even pay for a wheelchair that has outdoor
capabilities. They only cover a chair that will get
a person from one place in their house to the other.

What next? Is getting out of bed going to be a luxury?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh no! Please don't let this be true...

I just received a message from "anonymous" asking if I've heard that IT is going out of business. I hope this is not true... though I wouldn't be terribly surprised. Crap. I've googled it but didn't come up with anything. Does anyone know anything about this? I'm very worried.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Question from a reader

Logan wrote...

Hi Shannon, I'm interested in buying a used iBOT. Any tips or things to look out for? (I had a test drive a couple of years ago.) Is there an iBOT owners forum out there?

The only thing I'm afraid of is that I get enough attention with my service dog. Add an iBOT and I'll never be able to get things done!

I say....

I'm sorry I did not respond in a more timely matter. Things have been busy around here. So... you have an opportunity to buy a used iBOT? That's fabulous! I would suggest that you have a rep from IT look it over before buying it. Mine was practically new, but I don't know the circumstances around the one you are interested in. Be aware that the warranty is not transferable. But also be aware that in the year+ that I've had my used iBOT, the lack of warranty has not been a problem for me.

IBOT owners forum... I know there was one but now I cannot find it. I looked through my bookmarks, and I did a google search and I cannot find it. When I have more time, I'll do a bit more digging and hopefully find it. Or, if anyone reading this knows the website, please leave a comment.

About the attention the iBOT draws... A few years back (this was before I got my iBOT) I was training my dog to be a service dog. He did great, but I stopped using him because I couldn't handle all the attention. People are interested in the iBOT, and you definitely will get lots of people asking questions, but I've found that if I'm in a hurry or not in the mood to talk to anyone, I just look straight ahead and keep on going. I have had some people run after me to ask about it, but not often. The other thing you can do is put it in Standard Function. People think it is just a regular power chair when it's in Standard. I think I've only had one person ask me about when I was in Standard, and he knew it by name and was somewhat familiar with them, but had never seen one in real life before.

I had a much harder time getting things done when I had my dog with me than I do with the iBOT. So many people stopped me to ask if they could pet my dog, but no one has asked to pet my iBOT! Dog lovers obviously find it extremely difficult to see a friendly dog and not pet him/her (which is understandable), but people seem satisfied to just look (stare) at the iBOT.

I've also noticed quite a difference in the number of people asking me about it now than a year ago. I think this is for a few reasons. One reason is that more and more people are seeing them. I think IT has been advertising because in the past few months I've had quite a few people say that they saw it on TV. Also, I tend to go to the same grocery store, library, etc, and so I know lots of people have seen me before. If I'm in a checkout line or something where I'm not on the go, I've had lots of people who are in line also tell me that they've seen me around before. And finally, I think I've perfected the art of "Don't talk to me, I'm busy".

The questions really don't bother me. If I am in a hurry, I go in Standard. I can go faster in Standard, plus people think it's just a regular power chair. Not long ago my daughter and I were at the grocery store and we were in a hurry. I was in Balance Function, because that is where I like to be, and we had stopped at the deli. As my daughter was quietly saying to me, "Maybe you should go down so no one asks you about it", a man asked me about it. He literally interrupted her sentence to ask me a question. I found it humorous, but my daughter was a bit irritated. I'm usually a very friendly person, and I'm happy to answer questions, but if you are a person who does not like questions, being in Balance Function would definitely be an issue. Oh, also, before I got my iBOT, I had people ask me why I'm in a wheelchair. Since I've had the iBOT, no one has. It's quite nice! Although I understand people's curiosity, I think it's quite rude for a complete stranger to ask such a personal question. "How come you're all crippled up?" is a bit stabbing, whereas, "That is an awesome chair!", or "How does it balance like that", does not bother me.

I hope what I've written helps. Feel free to ask any other questions. And let me know if you get it and how you like it!

Edited to add: One more thing about the attention a service dog and an iBOT draws. Although I definitely understand people wanting to pet a service dog, I think they should know better. Therefore, I was always somewhat perturbed when someone asked to pet him. I don't feel that way with the iBOT. I guess I would never ask to pet someone's service dog, and I would never ask a person why they were in a wheelchair, but I might ask someone a question or two if they had a super cool wheelchair. : )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just a bit of new information

I believe I had written somewhere in this blog that the iBOT can be sold outside of the United States. I just found out that is not true. Someone from a different country could purchase an iBOT, but they would need a prescription from a US doctor, plus they would need to do the evaluation and the training here in the states. So it would be a very costly and time consuming thing. I guess it'd wouldn't be so bad for Canada or Mexico, but if you are from overseas, I think it would be quite an ordeal. I have a friend in Europe who really wanted an iBOT, but it's unfortunately not going to happen for her at this point. : (

The other new thing is the price of service. Service used to be $90/hour. They have changed it to a flat $125 for regular service (4 to 6 business days), and $200 for expedited service (2 to 4 business days). Still quite reasonable IMO. I've had the BOT for a little over a year now (and it's not covered under warranty since I bought mine used). In that year, as far as I can remember, I haven't had to pay for any service calls. A service rep has been to my house twice I believe. Once was to update something and the other time was when I was having lots of flat tires. I wasn't charged either time. I also had a rep come to teach a friend stair climbing. No charge for that either. Overall, I'm still very pleased with their customer service. They're very smart to have excellent customer service. People ask me all the time about service and I have nothing but good things to say. Just yesterday a lady in a powerchair stopped me in the grocery store and asked me about it. I can't remember what kind of chair she had, but she said their customer service is complete crap.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


A few new ones.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Outdoor School

Portland public schools have been running
an outdoor school program since 1966. It's
tons of fun, or so I've heard. Mention it
to a person who attended Portland public schools
in 6th grade, and they all say, "Oh! Outdoor
School is so much fun!" The kids spend 5
nights in the woods. Every 6th grader goes.
My daughter goes next month.

Yesterday there was an orientation at the camp-
site. It was basically for the parents to see
where their kids would be for 5 nights. I was
extra thankful for my iBOT because I could
not have toured the place without it. The
paths were gravel and sloped, but the iBOT
handled it with no problems. The dining hall
had a step. Again, no problem for the BOT.

I would not have gotten a look inside the
cabins without the BOT because of the

Check out the view. (Also would have been
inaccessible without the iBOT.)

On clear days, you can see the beautiful Mt.

Lucky kids! I didn't grow up in Oregon, so
I never went to Outdoor School. I grew up
in rural WI, and we never did anything like

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Biden tells para to stand up

This is hilarious.

I bet Biden feels like an idiot. He shouldn't
though. That kind of thing happens often. I
thought he handled it pretty well.

McCain stole my bot.

What a jerk.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Comment from a reader

The following is a comment left by an iBOT user.
I wanted to put it "out here" because I think
it's valuable information.

I use an iBot in the mountains of Colorado at 10,000 ft where there's no pavement or sidewalks. On the plus side, the 4wd function is outstanding for accessing places off road, off path and when there's snow, mud, sand, obstacles, etc. The standing function is great for taking walks with friends, reaching high and for viewing over objects (I've used it to get an unobstructed camera angle at times), but don't use it in a public place if you want to be left alone - it's a real attention getter. Most stairs are climbable if there are handrails and your PT has certified you to use them, or if you have a trained assistant along. Very fast in standard mode - 7.8 mph.

My gripes: No suspension - traveling over rough ground can be jarring. Pneumatic tires - no option, I'm just waiting to catch that nail or large thorn when I'm far from home. Joy stick too sensitive - very hard to move slowly and smoothly, especially on rough ground. Tight spaces are a no-no in balance or 4wd - the computers and gyros will try to compensate for external forces - not good. Stairs are scary - never had a problem, but I avoid them when I can. You need to practice often to keep confident. It is not invincible, I have been stuck in 6 inches of snow. It has got to have grip - in all functions. Last, I wish the footrests could be adjusted closer to 90 degrees. They can't because of the large front casters.

In my opinion, the gripes are minor inconveniences compared to the benefits. The iBot will go places and do things that absolutely no other chair can. That being said, I'll still use my power assisted manual chair most often. It's more comfortable, smaller and keeps me more active. Hope this helps.



Thank you Brent! I agree with every thing you said.

First day of school

My daughter started her first day of Middle
School today. I was waiting out front with
her and her friends for the bell to ring when
a few buses pulled up and kids and more kids
piled off the buses, completely surrounding me.
In my manual chair, I would have gotten a bit
panicky.... everyone towering over me....
backpacks in my face. Thank goodness I was
in Balance Function.

One important thing to remember, turn the speed
to 0 in situations like this. My joystick was
bumped numerous times by backpacks and other
typical Middle School age kid actions. Like
OMG, someone could have bumped my joystick and
I could have totally ran over that guy who looks
just like Joe Jonas!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

State Fair

My apologies for not being here in over
a month. Time goes by so fast.

An update about the flat tire problem
I was having - the new rim strips seem
to be doing the job! I have not had
any flats since they were put in.

And now on to other things...

I took my daughter and a friend of hers
to the State Fair yesterday. I knew I was
going to spend a lot of time sitting around
waiting for them while they went on rides,
and I knew that if I spent a lot of time
sitting around while in Balance, a ton of
people would ask me about the bot. I was
right. I didn't get 10 feet through the
entrance before someone asked me about it.
We were there for about 4 hours, and I'm
estimating that 40 people talked to me
about it. I was going to keep track of
it, but I quickly lost count.

What is interesting to me is who was most
interested in it. Actually, not so much
who was most interested in it, but who
was willing to ask me about it and what
they asked. Most of the people who talked
to me were women around my age. Some of
them wanted to know how it balanced, but
most of them just wanted to know how it
affected my life. There were also quite
a few men who wanted to know how it
balanced. None of the men asked me how
it affected my life. No, actually one guy
did say, "How do you like it?", but all
the other guys just wanted to know how it
worked. There were two elderly men who
couldn't believe what they were seeing.
One of them was so worried that I was
going to tip over. He literally asked
me questions, walked away scratching
and shaking his head, turned around and
came back seconds later and asked me more
questions, walked away again scratching
and shaking his head, and then he turned
around again and asked me more questions!
It was amusing. I bet he's still trying
to wrap his brain around it.

There were two young boys who asked me
a bunch of questions about how it worked
and what it did. They were probably about
12 years old. When I was explaining how
it had gyroscopes in it, one of them said,
"Oh, kind of like the Segway!". They were
smart boys. Future engineers/inventors? I
really like it when kids ask me about it and
when they are obviously fascinated by it like
those two boys were.

The other thing I wanted to write about was that
for the first time in my life, I actually really
enjoyed the fair. Growing up, I went to the
Minnesota State Fair all the time because my
parents took me there. I hated it. People
stared at me and I felt like a freak. Back then,
"freaks" were still a part of the fair and whenever
we went to that section of the fair, I was afraid
that people would think I escaped from my cage.
Really, I did. As an adult, I've never enjoyed
things such as state fairs because they are always
dirty and crowded. A person in a manual chair
gets his/her hands and arms filthy because of this,
and having a view of people's butts is, in my
opinion, not fun. Going to the fair yesterday
in the iBOT made it so much more enjoyable. I
was not looking forward to going, but after being
there for a while, I didn't want to leave. And
I'm thinking about going back again tomorrow. The
change the iBOT has made in my life is amazing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

PAWS wheelchair

Whoa, I'm digging this chair:

Love how you can keep the wheels in the same
position and spin the seat.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


I'm really interested in this chair and there
is very little information about it on the
internet. Check this out though:

Their webpage says the project started in 2001, but
I'm wondering how long it's been on the market.
Selling price? Can you raise the seat so that
you are eye level with a standing adult? Does
it go through sand and gravel? These are the
things I need to find out.

Another stair climbing wheelchair

Whoa, I know nothing about this chair other than
what I see in this video and what I've read on
their website, but this looks really great for
stair climbing. Better than the iBOT even.
The stair climbing function is the biggest
disappointment about the iBOT.

The sad thing is, it'll probably never go anywhere
because there's no money in it since Medicare
would classify it as a "luxury" and therefore
not pay for any of it which means most people
wouldn't be able to purchase one, just like the
iBOT. There is amazing technology out there and
there could be a completely knock your socks off
wheelchair, but someone brilliant and well-known
like Dean Kamen has to be behind it, and a
huge company with tons of money, like Johnson
and Johnson, has to market it.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What to do when you have a flat

The iBOT manual says to not drive the iBOT
if it has a flat. In my opinion, that's a
ridiculously unrealistic statement. These
tires are not easy to get on and off. The
guy at the bike store yesterday who had
experience and proper tools took at least
15 minutes and a whole lot of swearing to
change just one tire. (He didn't swear
out loud, but I know that it's a lot of
work and I'm pretty sure some bad words
were said in his head!) I know I wouldn't
be able to change a tire myself, and I'm
not about to a) carry the proper tools with
me wherever I go and b) ask an average person
to change it for me. In addition to not
being able to change it myself or ask a
Bob Smith to do it for me, there is no emergency
wheelchair flat tire fixing service such as
AAA. I can't even call a friend to come
pick me up because I can't get the iBOT
into their cars. I could call a cab, but
finding one with a wheelchair lift to come
out right away probably wouldn't be easy.
A reader of this blog suggested public
transportation, which is a great idea...
however, I haven't looked into that yet.
I don't know if they'd be able to take
me to my house, or just the nearest bus
stop which is 2 blocks away. Besides, I
might be in a different town/city where
they do not have accessible public transport
and/or taxi cabs.

Whenever I get a flat, people always say,
"Why not just switch the clusters so that
the flat wheel in the back is in the front?"
That is what I did do when I got my last
flat, but I was really uncomfortable doing
it because you just never know if the iBOT
is going to perform normally with a flat
tire. I've since talked with IT (Independence
Technology) and here is what they recommend:

While in Standard Function, transition to
4-Wheel Drive. Drive the iBOT in 4-Wheel
Drive to a place that can fix it. Rolling
with a flat in 4-Wheel Drive function is much
better than Standard Function because the
other 3 wheels will help keep the weight off
of the flat one.

While rolling in 4-Wheel Drive with a flat
tire could result in wheel damage, the guy at
IT said it's highly unlikely to get damaged
as long as I'm not going over rocks or going
a very far distance. If it did damage the
wheel, I'd have to pay for the cost of a
new wheel, plus a service call because
a tech would have to put the new wheel
on. Putting on the new wheel is NOT something
a bike shop could do. I asked IT how much a
new wheel costs, and he didn't know off the
top of his head, but he's going to find out
and let me know. However much it is though,
I'd rather risk damaging the wheel than
switching the clusters and possibly having
the chair flip over backward or throw me out

**Some iBOT users do switch the clusters when
they get a flat (and I did it once by using the
stair climbing function), but IT does not
recommend doing this.**

Some random recommendations:
1. Always carry a spare tube with you.
Your local bike shop will not have the right
size tube.
2. If you've got the room, always carry
a spare tire with you.
3. Carry the number of public transport
and taxi services.
4. IT has a 24-hour support line.
5. If traveling with an iBOT, bring along
a spare manual wheelchair. If you don't have
a spare manual chair, you can purchase a
cheap lightweight foldable travel chair for
about $150.
6. Possible places to fix a flat: bike
shops, Les Schwab, probably gas stations.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Better day

Yesterday's post title should have read, "Bad
crip day", or maybe just "Bad day". We all
have them, disabled or not. The iBOT is a
great mobility device that has changed my
life and I shouldn't have whined about it. It
was just a bad day and I blamed it mostly on the
iBOT, which I shouldn't have.

Just to clarify, IT is Independence Technology.
They provide iBOT tech support and they have
nothing to do with the design (except for
giving the engineers feedback probably). DEKA
is Dean Kamen's company. They are the people
who designed and who make the iBOT.

I took my BOT to the bike shop today. I decided
to put a new tire on the wheel that keeps popping.
I also decided that instead of changing just one
tire, I'd change them all. I could have called
IT and had them send a tech to change the tires
for me, but that would have cost me $90 for the
service call (as least I thought it would since
I didn't think it was covered under warranty). So
I decided to take it to the bike shop where
they only charged me $5.00 per wheel = $20.00.
They're super nice... it took them well over an
hour to get the new ones on. I know they must
cringe every time they see me coming in! I think
all the guys in the shop try to ignore me as long
as possible and hope that one of their co-workers
will find out what I need. LOL! Getting these
tires on and off is not easy.

At the bike shop they changed all four tires and
they thoroughly inspected the one that keeps popping
for anything that might be causing the flats. They
found nothing. I've been home for a few hours now
and no flat so far. Oh, also, when I ordered my
last set of tubes from IT, they also sent me these
rubber things. I don't know what they're called,
but basically it puts a layer of rubber between
the tube and the wheel. That should help prevent

When I got home from the bike shop, there was a
message from IT. They said they wanted to send
a tech here to inspect the wheels and try to
determine what the problem is. They said they
were also going to give me 4 new tubes since I've
been going through so many lately. They said it
will be covered under warranty, so I'm cool with
that. As I've said before, IT tech support is

Still no call back from DEKA. I called them again
this afternoon and left another message. I still
want to ask them about switching the clusters when
there is a flat. Will post again when I do hear
from them.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad iBOT day

Today has not been a good iBOT day. I still
love my bot, but today I'm frustrated with
the tires. This will probably be a long post,
but I'm doing it mainly for my own personal
documentation. If you don't have an iBOT
yourself or you don't know much about it, the
following will probably be of no interest to

I called IT this morning to ask about switching
the clusters when there is a flat tire involved.
I asked them if there have been tests done to
see if, while switching the clusters, the bot
performs the same way with a flat as it does
when there isn't a flat. I've tested switching
the clusters with no flats, and it worked well.
I don't want to test it with a flat though
because I don't feel like being a crash test

IT didn't know if it has been tested. They also
didn't know how I could go about finding an
answer to my question. He looked up flat tire
information in the manual and it said that if you
get a flat, don't move the iBOT. It could "result
in serious injury or death". So, uh, what am I
supposed to do? Call AAA? Obviously you have to
move the bot when it has a flat. IT said the
only thing they could recommend I do is check the
tire pressure every day.

Since I didn't get my question answered (btw, IT
is always very nice and helpful, but they are
tech support only and they have nothing to do with
any sort of testing), I called a friend of mine
who also has an iBOT. He suggested I called
DEKA and talk to one of the engineers there. I
called. The person she transferred me to wasn't
at his desk so I left him a message to call me
back. I waited around for about an hour hoping
he'd call, but he didn't. I had to go to the
grocery store and so I left the house, in balance,
and went to the store which is approximately 15
blocks away. As I'm in the check-out line, the
lady behind me says, "It looks like you have
a flat." ARGGG! Not another flat. This is
getting old. I didn't know what to do because
my house and van were about 15 blocks from the
store. That's too far to roll on a flat. I
thought about switching the clusters, but I was
worried the bot might tip over or throw me out
if I attempted to do that. So I decided to go
down to 4-Wheel Function the normal way. Strangely,
it didn't shoot me forward like it did last time
I did that. It went to 4-Wheel and then Standard
with no issues. But there I was in the store
with a rear flat. My choices were, limp all
the way home which would definitely ruin the wheel,
go back into balance and force it to go into 4-wheel
by tipping it forward so that the clusters would
switch, or doing the stair climbing thing to switch
the clusters. I was nervous about trying either
one of the cluster switching ways because as I said
before, I don't know if the BOT would behave the
same way.

Lucky for me, my bf works in my neighborhood. I
called him and he met me at the store. He's been
trained on stair climbing and he's a mechanical
engineer, so I trusted he would know what would
be the best thing to do. We decided to use the
Stair-Climbing Function to switch the clusters.
I didn't do the stair climbing myself, he did
it. It worked. The clusters switched and I
rolled home in Standard Function with the flat
tire in the front and slightly raised.

My concerns:

1) Why do I keep getting flats? Someone just recently
asked me about the frequency of flats and I said that
I didn't think it was too bad. I've changed my mind.
Something needs to be done to prevent these flats.

2) Someone needs to answer my question about switching
the clusters when there is a flat.

3) Why is it that last time I had a flat tire when I
was in Balance Function, it shot me forward about
5 feet when I made the transition to 4-Wheel Function,
but today it didn't do that?

Ugh. I'm having van issues as well. The ramp broke,
the service engine soon light is on, the speedometer
and the other things on the dash aren't working. T'is
a sucky crip day.

Also, I have to get new caster wheels for the bot. I'll
post more about that tomorrow probably. $120 for two
new pieces of rubber. I can think of a least a gagillion
other things I'd rather spend $120 on.

Stress headache about to make my head explode. Sorry to
complain so much. I just need to vent every once in awhile.
To end on a happy note, I just saw my hair in the mirror and
it's shiny. :D

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The correct way to climb stairs

In the post below (the one titled "New
Video"), I climb one step in order to
switch the clusters. I didn't do a good
job climbing the step. You can hear the
iBOT beep at me, telling me that was too
rough. Luckily I didn't throw a wrench.
Throwing a wrench means something didn't
perform the way it was supposed to. IT
wants to know about these things. So a
wrench shows up on the UCP, and you get
locked out of every function except for
standard. Clearing the wrench is most
likely just a call to IT and they clear
it remotely.

Anyway, there is a technique to make stair
climbing smoother than what you see in my
video. Since I almost never use the Stair
Climbing Function, I don't have this technique
down. In the following video, you can see how
smooth stair climbing is supposed to be.

And one more way to switch the clusters

But like I said in my last post, I'm not sure
how it will perform if it has a flat.

New video

One way to switch the clusters:

My only concern is that the chair will not behave
the same way with a flat. I'll give IT and call
to find out if it's been tested.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Creature Discomforts

The following post has nothing to do with the iBOT,
but it is about disability.

To watch their fabulous ads, go to

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How to switch the clusters

I spoke with IT this morning and they told
me a couple of ways to switch the clusters
so that if I get a flat, I can easily switch
them so that I'm not rolling on the flat.

Note: I've most likely been given this info
in the past. My brain didn't retain it. Now
that I've been in a situation where it would
have been really helpful to know how to do
it, and also now that I'm writing this, I will
hopefully remember it, lol!

Okay, so I'm botting around and suddenly I
have a flat. What I've always done in the
past was stop whatever I was doing and go
straight to the bike shop to have them fix
it. As of today, I know a better way.

All I have to do is put it in stair climbing
function, go up one step, switch to 4-wheel
drive function while the first set of the
clusters are resting on the first step. Then
drive forward, go back into standard function,
and I'll be wheeling on the un-flat wheel
which has traded places with the flat wheel.

Another way to do it is if I am in balance,
I can force the chair to "fall" from balance
to 4-wheel by making the chair tilt forward
(see my last post). This will cause an
abrupt and uncomfortable "crash", but it will
switch the clusters. The person at IT tried
it today while I was speaking with her. I
don't think I'll give it a try myself
because it sorta hurts, but it's good
to know.

I think tomorrow I will try the stair-climbing
way to switch the clusters. If I do, I'll
have my daughter film it and I'll post it here.

I kind of wonder about climbing a step with
a flat... sounds a little risky to me, but IT
said it was okay to do. They should know!
Then again, maybe they've never done it with a
flat. If anyone reading this knows this is
not a safe thing to do, please leave me a

And now, my daughter wants to go for a walk.
Because of the iBOT, I am happy to go on a
walk with her on this beautiful evening. : )

Traveling with the iBOT

I had my first traveling experience with
the iBOT this past weekend. I didn't take
it on an airplane, but it was the first
time I took it somewhere and had to bring
the charger along. I stayed in the Puget
Sound area in WA for two nights. The iBOT
was wonderful to have on vacation. We did
much "walking" which would have been a major
pain had I been using my manual. We walked
(er, I botted) from our hotel to the main
part of town. Doing that in my manual would
have been impossible, especially in the heat.
There was a nice long boardwalk that we went
on which ended at a park with trails. Although
the boardwalk would have been okay with my
manual, the park would have been very difficult.
The iBOT had no trouble going on the trails.
The iBOT made the trip much, much easier for me.

I did have one problem. We were over a mile
away from our hotel and I was in Balance. I
turned a corner and it caused the tire to come
off. Although I'm not positive why this
happened, we noticed there was a nut missing.
Apparently the guy at the bike shop who fixed
the flat two days earlier failed to put the
nut on. So I had a flat. Again. It was
completely flat and I didn't want to roll
on it anymore than I had to. So I sat in
the shade and my sister looked in the town's
phone book for a bike shop. No bike shop.
My traveling companion walked back to the
hotel and drove my van over. I limped the
bot to the van and we drove it to a Les
Schwab to see if they would fix it for me.
The lady behind the counter was very reluctant
to help. She was worried about liability.
But then a young guy came to the desk and
he said he'd be happy to do it for me. I
gave him a new tube and the bot and he took
it into the shop and fixed it for me... no
charge. Very nice guy, unlike the selfish,
nail-biting twit I first spoke with. He did
an excellent job and I went about the rest of
my vacation with no problems.


-Always carry a spare tube with you. There
ought to be a little pouch somewhere on the
iBOT specifically for a spare tube.

-If possible, travel with a manual chair as
a backup.

-If a person isn't willing to help, don't give
up, ask someone else. Not everyone in America
is scared of getting sued.

This morning when I talked to IT, they told me
how I could have switched the clusters so that
the good tire infront of the flat tire could
be used to roll on instead of rolling on the
rim of the flat tire. And writing that just
now made me realize that I should have just
called IT when it happened. D'oh! They have
a 24-hour tech support line. I knew that, but
didn't remember it when I was in the situation.
Anyway, I don't feel like writing about it right
now. I will write about it later.


Last Thursday I got out of my van to go into the
library and when I made the transition to Balance,
it started dithering quite a bit. The dithering
and the sound of squishing rubber on the sidewalk
and I knew I had a flat. The extra dithering didn't
make it feel unstable, but I knew I should transition
back to Standard Function. I went back to Standard
with no issues. I then took the bot and a new tube
to my local bike shop. They took the tire off for me
and put the new tube in (charged me $5). Apparently
the guy didn't put the tire on correctly because
after leaving the store, I went up into Balance
and the dithering was quite a bit. Enough to scare
me. My first thought was to transition to 4-Wheel
and then Standard, but it was dithering so much and
I felt like it was really unstable. In order to
make the Balance to 4-Wheel transition, the seat
needs to lean way back. I was nervous that tipping
it back like that would be enough to make it tip
over. So then I thought about getting the bike
shop guys to pick me up out of the chair and let
it fall. I decided against that because without my
weight in it when it's in Balance, I don't know
what it would have done. So I went back to my
original thought and made the transition to 4-
Wheel Drive. It didn't tip over, but it did
suddenly shoot forward about 5 feet, which was
a little scary. It wasn't enough to throw me out
of the chair, and I didn't run into anything or
anyone, but I'm thankful that there wasn't a curb
or a building or a person to crash into. LESSON
LEARNED: When in Balance with a flat, make sure
there is plenty of room in front and behind you before
you make the transition to 4-Wheel. Common sense?
Yes. But sometimes common sense isn't there when
in a scary situation. (I spoke with IT this morning
about it, and they weren't sure why it shot forward
like it did.)

While on the phone with IT, I asked if there was
a way to force it to "fall" from Balance to 4-Wheel.
There is, and the IT person I was speaking to got
in an iBOT while we spoke and made it do it.
Instead of making the seat lean back, you
make it lean forward. You move the left toggle
to the right corner. It'll start beeping as a
warning, but push the button again and hold it
there and it will fall down to 4-Wheel. I've
unintentionally experienced this "fall" a couple
of times. Although it's abrupt and a bit
unpleasant, it isn't an issue for me, and I
have bad osteoporsis. I would think this might
be a problem for people who live with a lot of
pain though.

So anyway, IT told me I did the right thing
by making the Balance to 4-Wheel transition
the "right" way. But now I know another way
to do it if I need to. I think forcing it
to make the fall would have been less scary,
however, I'm impressed once again at how safe
it is in Balance Function. People ask me
all the time if Balance is scary. It isn't.
They always ask if I'm afraid I'll tip
over. I always say no. Outside the bike
shop when it was dithering a lot because
of the blowout, I was a bit afraid, but
that was the first time. And it ended up
not tipping me over... so I've no doubt how
amazing the balancing function is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The bot is working again. Turns out it was
only the charger. Woo-hoo! The new charger
arrived yesterday morning and by the afternoon
I was botting again.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jinxed by my last post!

The charger for the iBOT has 2 yellow lights
and 2 red lights. The yellow lights mean that
it is charging or is charged, the red lights
mean that something is wrong. When I plugged
it in yesterday, I got one yellow light and
one red light. I called tech support and he
said to leave it plugged in for a while to
see if it charged at all. About 6 hours later
I checked, and it hadn't charged at all. I
talked to tech support again this morning
and he said there must be a problem with
the charger or the batteries. Because I
bought my iBOT used, it is not covered under
warranty. So we're starting with the less
expensive possible fix which is the charger.
$275 for a refurbished one, $500-something
for a new one. It will be sent to me over-
night, and I should receive it tomorrow. If
the problem isn't resolved, I'll send the
charger back to them and they will send
me new batteries. $550 for each battery
and they are only sold in pairs, so $1,100.
I don't need a tech to come here though, so
that's good. Although if I did need one, it
is only $90 an hour and that is only from
when the tech gets here until he leaves.
Which means most service calls only cost
$90. Quite resonable, IMO.

I am iBOTless until at least tomorrow. I
have a feeling it is the batteries, simply
because it's the more expensive fix. LOL!
Also though, I asked the guy how long batteries
last and he said usually 1 to 2 years.

I.T. is very good about getting things fixed
in a timely manner.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another question:

crmantigua wrote:

Your Blog is great. I live in Antigua and would be concerned about maintenance. What things have you had to fix or replace since having your Bot?

Hi there Antiqua person! Interested in doing a house
swap for a week in February?!

I haven't had to fix or replace anything at all except
when I first got it they had to come out once to update
the software so that it could be fixed remotely. (No
charge to me!)

The chair is very well made. I've put many miles on
it, and I've really USED it, and it's been fantastic.
Another good thing is that if you do throw a wrench,
they can most likely fix it remotely. In case you
don't know what throwing a wrench is, it is something
that happens if something happens to the chair that
isn't supposed to happen. IT wants to know about
anything weird that happens, and so they have a built-in
"black box". A wrench will appear on the UPC and it
will lock you out of all functions other than standard.
You have to call IT to get it fixed. They read the
black box remotely, and often they can fix it remotely.
That's my understanding of it anyway... give IT a call
or send them an email. They are excellent about
answering questions.

I've said this before, but I'll say it again. IT
is a really great company. I've had NO negative
experiences with them at all. As for the iBOT, it
amazes me how well made it is. If there was a car
company that was like IT, everyone would be driving
one of their cars.

BTW, the iBOT would be great for the beaches
in Antiqua! I went to Bonaire many years ago
and having the iBOT then would have been so
great. I hope you get one and love it as much
as I love mine!

Question left by anonymous:

Anonymous said...


Do you have any reactions to the new seat designs?

Indeed, I do have reactions! My friend Bill who
also has an iBOT called me to tell me about the
new seat design. I was very excited about it
because I dislike the current footrest assembly
very much. I looked at the website and was
thrilled to see the new footrest. This was in
the evening, so I had to wait until the next
day to call IT about it. When I called the next
day, I found out that it would cost me $4,500
for the new seating design. : ( I was hoping
to purchase just the new footrest, but they aren't
sold seperately. Although the new design would
be great to have, I don't have the money for
it. So I won't be getting it. They did say
they were working on getting a new footrest
that could be purchased without buying the
entire new seating design, but he had no idea
when that would happen. I'm disappointed. I
need to find a bike builder or someone who can
build me a new footrest system.

As for the other new stuff....

The armrests look slightly better. Not something
worth spending the money on though, IMO.

The headrest is of no interest to me because
I took mine off as I have no need/desire to
have one.

The lateral supports do not interest me.

The calf panel... I thought it came with
one of these already? To me, it is only
something that gets in the way.

Now folding the backrest forward... I really
like that. It'd be great for air travel and
for transporting it in other people's trucks,
vans, suburbans. I have a portable ramp
I could use, and with the remote function
and the seat folding forward like that, I'd
be able to get it into (some)vehicles other than
my own.

For me, the footrest assembly would be
fantastic. The seat folding forward would
come in handy. The rest of the new features
do not interest me though.

Comment left by Anonymous:

Anonymous said...

I'm not Mooney but I sure miss the regular reports on the iBOT and how it expands your horizons. I hope to get one someday. Keep the faith, baby!

Anonymous, thank you so much! It makes me happy
to know that someone is interested! My best wishes
to you in getting yourself an iBOT - they are


Whoa, I see I haven't posted any iBOT stuff here in
quite a while. I've been terribly busy with the
end of the school year and my daughter's birthday
and trying to get my website launched... Things are
going well with the BOT. I'm not sure how it happened,
but just a few days ago I was in balance and someone
must have bumped the joystick and pushed a button
at the same time or something. It crashed me down
to four-wheel drive. Not a big deal.... no one was
hurt. It was quite a jolt though and I could see
where this might be a problem for some people,
especially if they have pain issues.

A couple of people have left me questions which I
will work on answering next...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I can't find your email address. Send me an
email please!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

A guy in the checkout line tried to heal me today

Yep. Thank goodness stuff like this doesn't happen
very often... I'm in the checkout line at the store
and the guy behind me slaps his hand down on top
of my head and yells, "HEAL!". He waited a
moment and then shrugged and said, "Never know,
might work sometime." Dead silence. The mouths
of the checkout lady and the other people in line
fell to the floor.

Gosh darnit. For a minute there I thought I'd have
no use for my iBOT anymore.

When my daughter and I got in the car, she asked
me what that was all about. I told her and she
said, "Oh, I thought he was talking to you like
you were a dog and he wanted you to slow down and

I remember the first time I was exposed to this
sort of thing. I must have been about her age
and I was watching TV. An evangelist touched
the forehead of a woman sitting in a wheelchair
and said, "Heal". She stood up, walked around,
and started crying tears of joy. I was
flabbergasted. 'Twas one of the first times
I witnessed craziness.

It's a funny world we live in.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

iBOT - helps me get where I need to go

I have a passion for macro photography. I can be
incredibly sad, angry, stressed, and/or frustrated
and then go out to my garden and do some macro
photography and it never fails to put me in a better

Before I had my bot, there were often times I couldn't
get to something I wanted to photograph. For
example, yesterday my daughter and I were out for a
walk and I saw a cool viney, twisty thingy. It was
growing over a tall fence. I never would have been
able to photograph it in my manual chair because I
couldn't get close enough to it. I was in my iBOT so
I first attempted to photograph it while in balance.
The dithering kept me from being able to hold the
camera still enough. No problem though. I went into
4 wheel drive and put it in the highest setting. The
highest setting in 4 wheel is almost as high as the
lowest setting in Balance.

I got these shots, which totally thrilled me because,
second to puppies, twisty botanical stuff is my most
favorite subject to photograph.

If you are interested in seeing more of my photography,
click here.

Friday, May 2, 2008


The first couple months I had my iBOT, when
in Balance, the #1 question people asked
was "How does that balance?" The second
question was (almost always), "Do you feel
like you're going to fall over?" I realized
last night that although the first question
has not changed, the second one has. Now
the second question is, "How much does that
thing cost?"

This sort of thing fascinates me. Why the
change? I must have been putting out a
"I'm afraid I'm going to fall over" vibe
and now I'm putting out a "This thing is
expensive" vibe.

BTW, I've never felt afraid that I would
tip over. Never. Not even the first time
I went into balance. Every once in a while
though, if I hold perfectly still, it will
stop dithering for a few seconds, and that
feels really weird.

Also, I'm uncomfortable when people ask me
how much it cost. I tell them $24,000,
which is the cost of a new one. I didn't
pay that much, but as far as I know,
mine is only one of two that have been
sold used.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Since I've had my iBOT, I've had two able-
bodied people tell me that they want their
own iBOT.


The first one was at a jr. high. A 7th or
8th grade girl said to her friends, "That's
so cool! I want one!" I didn't say anything
to her. What could I say? The person I was
with though said, "Get yourself paralyzed and
then maybe you can get one."

The second one was last night. I was at the
mall (even though I hate the mall) and I rode
in an elevator with a girl who must have been
in her early 20s. She asked me questions
about it while in the elevator and then when
we got out, she said, "I'm so jealous! I
really want one of those!" She wasn't joking.
My daughter and I just looked at each other,
completely dumbfounded. I'd give that girl
every cent I have if she would trade her
unparalyzed body for my iBOT.

Ugh. I must be going through
a stage of having no patience for AB idiot comments.
There sure have been a lot lately. "I'm jealous,
I want one!" "Now builders won't have to worry
about ramps and stuff". "The iBOT scares young
children." Pffft!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This may seem like an unimportant thing...

I was at my parent's house on Sunday. They live
in the country next to a large river. There is a
tree on their property that is frequently visited
by a couple of eagles. My parents have their telescope
fixed on that spot and I got to look through it.
Without the iBOT, I wouldn't have been high enough
to look through it.

I used a point and shoot camera and took these photos:

What are you looking at?

It's A Bird ... It's A Plane ... It's Superman!

Like I said in the title, it may seem like an unimportant
thing, but our world isn't built for short people. Those
of us who are short and not children who can be picked up
or not AB so that we can step onto a step stool, miss out
on a lot of things that most people don't even think about.
In my manual chair I can't look through the telescope, at
museums I don't have the same view as a standing person,
at scenic outlooks there is usually a railing directly
infront of my face, at the deli and salad bars I can't
see what is available, at counters I'm often not seen and
then when I talk to the person behind the counter I have
to strain to hear what they are saying and I have to yell
back to them, in a crowd I mostly only see lots of lots of
butts.... I could go on and on. My point is, the balance
function of the iBOT is so important. All those little
things add up to a lot. When I saw my parent's telescope,
my first thought was "Oh, that would be fun to look
through... I wish I could." And then I remembered I was
in my iBOT and I could look through it! : )

--Editted to add: the middle picture isn't showing up. I
don't have time to figure out the problem right now, but
I'll come back to it later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"I mean they literally scare small chidlren"!

The following was posted tonight under an entry
that I posted back in January. I've copied and
pasted it here:

Hamish said...

I'd rather ride around in a Sherman tank than in one of those overpriced, over-engineered, impractical ibots. I mean they literally scare small children. To each their own though.
April 22, 2008 7:39 PM

Hamish, what do you mean they "literally scare small
children"? You obviously do not have an iBOT yourself,
and so I'm wondering what sort of experience you've
had with the iBOT and small children? Also, care to
elaborate on your comment about it being over-engineered?

I've had quite the opposite experience regarding children.
Small children, medium children, big children... they all
love the iBOT, especially boys. Just today I was at the
store and a boy who must have been only about 3 years old
looked at the iBOT when I was in balance and his face
lit up and his eyes got big and he smiled and asked me
about it. I answered his questions and then when I left
and went around the corner, I heard him with a very excited
tone in his voice say, "Mom, how does she do that?!!!"

I don't think I've ever seen fear in a child's face when
they see the bot. Okay, maybe that one time there was a
bit of fear in that child that I plowed down, but that little
brat totally had it coming. Kidding! Honestly, I've seen
lots of looks of curiousity and fascination, but never looks
of fear.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Monday, April 21st is my birthday. Yep. Just
thought you'd like to know so that you can wish
me a happy birthday! nudge nudge wink wink :D

Monday, April 14, 2008

BigDog Robot

Watch the BigDog video. Very impressive.

click here

And the dumbest iBOT comment award goes to...

The check-out guy at the grocery store last night.

Our conversation went like this:

Him: Does that go up and down stairs?

Me: Yes it does!

Him: Yeah, I remember seeing it on a show. That's
really great for designers because now they won't
have to worry about wheelchair access... like making
sure they have ramps and stuff.

Monday, March 31, 2008

"Sick" must be the new "Cool"

I was at the mall today. I was in Balance and
a group of teenage boys passed me and I heard
one of them say, "Those chairs are sick!"

Then a little later a guy stopped me to ask
me about it. He was in his late teens or early
20s I'd guess. He said, "That is sick!"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Go Dean, Go Dean

I'm one out of the small group of people whose
life has changed because of this guy.

Kamen and Colbert

Yay, two of my favorite people got together again!

The last time (and I think the only other time)
Kamen was on The Colbert Report was when he
talked about the iBOT. He doesn't talk about
the iBOT this time, but it's still worth watching.

iBOT: Taking me places I've never gone before

Like birthday parties for goats.

Here are two of the four goats who turned
2 yesterday:

Note the hats and one of the two birthday cakes. Jean-Luc
is sporting the red hat, while Chloe is stylin' in blue.

I had to go up a long and somewhat steep gravel path to
get to the par-tay. Here I am coming down the long and
somewhat steep gravel path. (I'm attempting to hide in
my coat and behind my hair as it was freakin' freezing.)

There is no way I could have gotten up there in my manual
chair. And I doubt any powerchair other than the bot
in 4-Wheel Drive would have been able to handle it.

Once I got to the top, the bot got me in the barn. Had
I been in my manual, people would have had to carry me
into the barn due to a step up and step down. Any other
powerchair other than the bot could not have done it.

And it's a good thing I got in because that is where
the cake was. The humans ate cake and sang "Happy Birthday"
to the goats, and the goats ate organic raisins. Instead
of playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, the kids played
Put the Party Hat on the Goat. A good time was had
by all.

Editted to add: The bot also allowed me to NOT get
mud and goat poop all over my hands.


I went to CA over a month ago without my iBOT.
I haven't written about it yet because I've been
lazy, busy, and/or sick.

Overall, I'm glad I didn't take the bot. It would
have been a major pain in the ass transporting it
from the airport to Disneyland to Hollywood and
back to the airport. I also didn't have to worry
about the baggage handlers breaking it. And, if I had
gone into Innovations at Disneyland in the bot,
people would have thought I was there to demonstrate

My daughter really wanted to see Hollywood. We
gawked at star's names for a few blocks and then
headed back for the car. Near the end I had my
sister take a picture of my dirty hands.

One thing I don't miss about the manual chair
at all is the dirty hands.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Question from a reader

Anonymous said...

It is great that you had the nerve to teach the class. Congratulations. Do you find that most of the day you use the iBOT or do you use some other chair most of the time?

My response:

Thank you! I hope I never have to do it again!!!

I use my manual chair all of the time when I'm home.
I use my iBOT almost everytime I leave the house. I
tend to be in and out all day, so I switch between the
iBOT and my manual frequently. I could use the iBOT
in my house, but I find the manual chair easier to
manuever in tight spaces... of which there are many
in my house. Also, I have to be much more careful
in the iBOT because it's so powerful. If I used the
iBOT in the house, I'd probably have some holes in
the walls!

An interesting comment from a reader

Sands_PhD said...

Well, I have to speak up as a power chair user for 35 years: the iBot is a gimmick. I tested one in '07: they are overpriced, extremely large and heavy, ungainly, unsuited to most urban environment (think of the Segway). Most staircases are too problematic for them to traverse safely unaided. Any netizen is entitled to their opinion and I welcome efforts to advance the technology, but this is a step backwards.

My response:
Thank you for your interesting comment. I disagree with
everything you wrote except for the part about most
staircases being too problematic. The stair climbing
function is the only thing that has disappointed me.

Overpriced - I don't think it is overpriced compared to other
power chairs. In general it is overpriced, but that is no
different from any other durable medical equipment.

Extremely large - I'm surprised you think it's extremely
large. Compared to my manual, it is very large, but
compared to other power chairs, it seems quite reasonable.
In fact, I think it is even narrower than most power chairs.

Heavy - It's close to 300 pounds. I thought it would be

Ungainly - Okay that one I might agree with.

Unsuited to most urban environments - I think the iBOT
is way better suited to urban environments than the average
power chair. We live in a world that is built for
average adult height comfort. Think of all the high
counters, displays that are difficult or impossible
to see when in a seated postion, having conversations
with standing adults, and reaching things on high shelves.

A gimmick? I hear, respect, and can appreciate that you've
expressed this opinion, but I completely disagree.

A step backwards? Really? I hope you elaborate on this.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Teaching a Class

I "taught" a 5th grade art class today. My daughter's
school doesn't have enough money to hire an art teacher,
so the art program there is run entirely by volunteers.
I've been an assistant to the art teacher for the past
5 years. Today the teacher was home puking like
50% of the students, and so I had to teach the class.
I was very nervous and had never done anything like that
before. It actually went quite well. I'm so glad I had
my iBOT though so that I could be in Balance Function and
be taller than the students. Imagine trying to teach a
class at 4 feet high.

I finally get my van back tomorrow. I've been without
it for a week. I don't know what I would have done
without my BOT to get me around.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Use Speed 1 when indoors...

especially if you are in a restaurant.

I learned that very important lesson last

I also learned that the iBOT can easily
plow through tables and chairs.

And I learned that I could have a more
embarassing experience than the time when
I was in the 5th grade and I hiccuped in
the middle of a yawn which is quite loud
and instantly gets the attention of the
teacher and all of the classmates.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Extra extra thankful for the BOT

My car is going to be in the shop until
at least mid next week. : (

The good news is, I have my iBOT to get
me around. Surely I'd die without it.
And there's always -gasp- public transportation
if I absolutely need to go somewhere outside
of my neighborhood.

The other good news is that good weather is
predicted for the next few days. They're
talking 60 and sunny. I'm hoping the
weather forecasters aren't wrong like
they usually are.

Crosswalk signals

are so not PC. "Walk" and "Don't Walk" needs
to be changed to something like "Cross" and
"Don't Cross".

I get so confused when I'm trying to cross a
street at a crosswalk. When it says "Don't Walk"
I feel like that is when I should be crossing but
there's all these cars in my way. Then it turns
to "Walk" and the cars clear a path, but I can't
walk, so what am I supposed to do?

I think I'm going to start some sort of campaign
to change the wording of crosswalks. The way
it is now is just plain wrong. It's yet another
example of the discrimination us wheelers face.

Some alternative word possibilites include:




Stay right there/Hurry Up

Suspend Movement/Move Freely

I think I like "Stay" and "Go" best because then
dogs will easily understand what to do as well.
I'm open to suggestions though, so let me know
if you can think of any good ones.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy V-Day!

My car gave me the sweetest Valentine present
ever. The brakes went out.

I'm thanking Dog for my iBOT. Without it I
would be burdening my friends for rides, or
calling a cab, both of which I prefer not to
do. I botted from the mechanic shop to
home... would have been next to impossible
in my manual - too many hills, too far,
curbs not cut.

Please please please, no rain tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What not to do while in 4-Wheel Drive

Before I got my BOT, I was told by the rep to not
use the iBOT in 4-Wheel Drive when on carpet or
a rug. I've found out on my own that it's also a
good idea to not use 4-Wheel Drive when on painted

Monday, February 11, 2008


I had said in an earlier entry that I would post
pictures of the iBOT with the seat reclined as
far as it would go. Here are the photos:

This is NOT a feature, meaning it is not intended to
be used in this position. It may be necessary when
transporting the iBOT, especially when putting it in
an airplane. I know an iBOT owner who did it this
way. The IT recommended way to get it in the plane
is to lay the BOT on it's side.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The iBOT is "cool"

The things kids say about my iBOT makes me smile.
Some examples:

From 5th grade boys at my daughter's school:
"You have a cool wheelchair!"
"That is so rad!"

From a teenage boy at the swimming pool:
"If I ever get put in a wheelchair, I want one
like that!"

From a teenage boy at the mall:
"That is the coolest looking wheelchair I've
ever seen!"

From a teenage girl at a middle school open house:
"Whoa! I want to get one of those!"

I'm not kidding about that last one. And no, she
had no obvious mobility issues.

Friday, January 25, 2008

And Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program

If you've read the comments here over the last couple of
days, you know that there has been some garbage spewed.
When the garbage spewer started commenting and leaving
the names of my friends so it looked like it came from
them, I decided to clean up the place. All the garbage
and anything related to the garbage is gone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Interesting video

This doesn't have anything to do with the iBOT. I just
thought it was a very cool video.
Underwater Astonishments

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dork on a Segway

Uh, is this guy drunk or a complete idiot?
Putz' Segway Crash

Add to My Profile | More Videos

I so wish I knew how to dub over the two guys talking!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Finally another person posting about his iBOT experiences

A friend sent me this link (thank you S!) -

3 out of 56 people voted no

I was just looking at my poll at the bottom of this page.
I see there are now 3 votes for insurance not covering the
cost of the iBOT. I'd love to hear from anyone who voted
no. Please share your thoughts. You can leave an anonymous

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More on traveling with the iBOT, + no gel in tires!

I spoke with IT about traveling with the iBOT. She said
they recommend removing the UCP and replacing it myself.
She said I should keep the UCP with me so that no one has
the opportunity to try to hook it up themselves. If it gets
plugged back in the wrong way, it's toast. She said to
remove the footrest. She said it's a good idea to bubble
wrap the armrests and seat to protect the vinyl. (She said
"leather" but I'm going to let my vegetarian self believe
that she meant to say vinyl. If anyone knows that it's
leather, don't tell me. I don't want to know.) She
said to bring along a spare set of tires and tubes. She
said it is okay to put the iBOT on it's side so that they
can get it in the airplane. She said that some airlines
tie it down, some don't. She said even if they do tie it
down, something could slam into it.

As for damage that they've seen, the biggest problem was
when someone goofed by plugging in the UCP the wrong way.
She said there has been some damage to the lights. The
power base was scratched in one case. Some flat tires.
Mostly easy stuff to fix. She said some people fly weekly
with it and haven't had any problems, and others have had
their entire vacation ruined because the BOT was unusable
due to getting damaged.

While it would be really nice to have the iBOT when I go to
Disney, I certainly don't need it there. If I took the iBOT,
I'd also have to take the charger, spare tires and tubes, and
my manual chair. What a pain in the ass. Also, the cost of a
wheelchair taxi is more expensive than renting a car. I can't
get my iBOT in a rental car, but I can get my manual in one.

So, I'm not taking the iBOT when I go. Although it's doable,
it's not worth it.

I'm bummed.

Now regarding putting gel in the tires. I posted the other
day about getting a flat. An anonymous person left me a
message asking why my tires were not filled with gel. They
also said something like, "Don't be so stupid next time idiot".
I talked to IT about this today. They said "DO NOT PUT GEL
IN THE TIRES!" If I were to do that, it would mess with the
balance and stair climbing functions. So there, person
who called me an idiot! Who's the idiot? Hmmmmm?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Change the way you see disability

A friend sent me a link to this website (thanks R!):

Check it out. It's pretty cool.

I had a bad day... bad news. So I didn't feel like calling
the airline to find out if they secure powerchairs when they
are in the cargo hold.

Also, I have a picture of the iBOT with the seat leaning
as far back as it will go. Maybe I will post it tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I may have given some wrong information. In an earlier
post I said that they airlines do not secure the chair
when it is in the plane. I just spoke to someone who
said they do tie it down. I'll have to call the airline
to find out for sure.

Also, I said that the backrest doesn't fold down much
at all. This is not true. It can fold down so that the
top of the backrest nearly touches the ground. Once I
figure out how do this, I will take a picture and post
it here.

I'm reconsidering taking the BOT to Disneyland. If I
do end up taking it, I will also take my manual chair.
That way if they do break the BOT, I'll just use my
manual until the BOT gets fixed.

More on trading legs...

Did you know that there are people who actually want to be paralyzed?

Copied and pasted from
Sean is transabled. His body image is that of an L2 paraplegic. He has been living pretty much 100% of his public life from a wheelchair for the last decade, but hasn't found peace of mind (and is unlikely to until he does become a para).

I am a wife and mother who has had BIID all my life. Since my earliest memories I have had a deep desire to be a paraplegic. For over 30 years I kept this a closely held secret until one day I just could not take it anymore. Now, I am telling all of you my story, because I know that somewhere there is another wife and mother who is confused about her strange desires and needs to know she is not alone.

Strange, huh? I'd be willing to trade legs and spinal cords
with Sean or Claire.

Or maybe I'll just steal Wallace's trousers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not taking the BOT on vacation

I've decided to not take the iBOT when I go to Disneyland.
Although I was really looking forward to being tall while
I was there, I decided it's not worth risking it. Airlines
damage powerchairs all the time. On top of often careless
baggage handling people, the chair does not get tied down in
any form after it has been loaded - which allows it to get
banged around should there be turbulence.

I'm disappointed. It's frustrating that people with
powerchairs should have to be concerned about something like
this. I find it odd that the airlines are not required to
at least tie them down. Sure, if they break the chair they'll
give you a loaner to use until yours gets fixed, but getting
one of those heavy, uncomfortable, clunky, over-sized chairs
like I had in 1978 is unacceptable. And although the airlines
would have to pay for the repairs, would the chair ever be
the same?

Someone who reads my blog left me a comment with a link
to this company: It looks like
it might be a good solution, but how could I transport such
a large container. And then I'd have the lug the thing to
the hotel and then back to the airport. Getting just the
iBOT to and from the airport would be a big enough hassle
in itself.

So I'm leaving the BOT home. In future trips I will possibly
risk taking it. It all depends on where I'm going and how
long I'll be gone. For example, if I'm going to Hawaii, I'll
take it because I'll want it for the beach. If I'm going to
Paris, I'll want it for the beautiful Pere LaChaise cemetery.
If I'm going to Barcelona, I'll want it to explore the city.
If I'm going to Africa, I'll want it to quickly get away
from the hungry lions. If I'm going to Asia, I'll want it
to get to the top of Mt Everest. If I'm going to Mars, I
might need it to run over and squash the little green
Martains who try to invade my body.

I actually have a solution to my problem. I was thinking I
could trade bodies with someone who had working legs. Any
volunteers? I wouldn't even turn down man legs. I'm also
willing to consider animals legs. I think zebra legs might
work well. Good height, nice markings. Oh, but then I'd
have to get zebra shoes, so nevermind.

Seriously though, I've been wondering if I'll ever get robot legs.
I'm sure some day there will either be a cure for paralysis, or
there will be some sort of amazing robot legs. I'm not sure if
it will happen in my lifetime, but it would be cool if it did.
I'm sure we're a long way off from that happening, but at least
there are people working on it:

I met a friend for lunch in downtown yesterday. We went back to
her office and while I was in Balance in the elevator I somehow
managed to get the back of my armrest caught under the handrail. It
nearly ripped the handrail off. I didn't check, but I bet it
loosened it. Anyway, the time it took to open on the 5th floor,
close, go up to the 10th floor, open and close, and then go back
down to the 5th floor is the amount of time it took me to get

One of my readers told me that he misses my photography. I haven't
been doing much photography lately considering the rain and cold,
but D in Rochester, these are for you...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A flat while in balance

I got a flat while in Balance today. It didn't tip
over or crash down into 4-Wheel Drive. It was completely
flat, but I could roll on it. Of course I rolled on it
as little as possible. And I did put it down into
standard and soon as I could, just to be safe.

I'm a little perturbed that I got another flat. This
is the second one I've gotten in the few months I've
had the BOT. Seems excessive to me, but then again,
I've never had a powerchair before so maybe this is

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy 2008

Winter vacation is over. The kid is back in school. I
have time to do things again... like blogging.

I asked my daughter what the highlight of 2007 was for her.
She couldn't decide on one thing, but listed many. She asked
me what the highlight of 2007 was for me. It was, hands down,
getting the iBOT. More specifically, cruising on the sand at
the river with my daughter and my dogs.

A couple of months ago my sister suggested that she, my mom,
my daughter and I all take a little vacation together. We
decided on Disneyland/CA Adventure. I had planned on taking
the iBOT, but I'm a bit worried about the airline breaking
it. What to do, what to do.

I was in the store the other day, in balance, and a lady asked
me how I was balancing the chair like that. I told her I wasn't
doing anything, there are gyroscopes and computers doing it. She
said, "So is it specially made for the weight of your butt?" She
whispered the "your butt" part.

On Saturday I took my daughter to the pool because her friend
was having a birthday party there. A teenage kid said, "If I
ever get put in a wheelchair, I'm going to get one of those!"
I probably should have told him to start saving his pennies.

IT sent me a Christmas gift. It's a bag to hang on the iBOT.
I've been using it since just a bit before Christmas. It's
handy. I've been liking it. But the strap broke on it already.
I wasn't even swinging from it or anything.

I got my feet stuck under the dog treat shelf at the grocery
store, much like when I got stuck under the freezer door (earlier
entry). I thought the whole shelf was going to come crashing
down. I was able to tilt the seat position forward enough this
time so that I didn't crash down to 4-wheel. One of these days
I just know I'm going to inadvertently cause a scene.

And now it is time to BOT up to the school to get my child, which
means I will stop this entry full of randomness.