Monday, November 9, 2009

Comments and Questions

I've never been anywhere in Balance Function without at least one person making a comment or asking a question. The following are some of the things I hear: (If I only heard the comment once I put a -once- behind it... No -once- means I've heard it mutliple times)

Whoa, that's so cool!

How do you do that?

Do you feel like you are going to tip over?

If someone accidently bumped you, would you tip over?

That's like the Segway.

Is that the same technology as the Segway?

I've never seen one of those before.

I saw that on TV once, but I've never seen one in real life.

How much did you pay for it?

I bet that cost you 4 to 5 thousand dollars. -once-

Are you balancing that yourself?

Is that an iBOT?

What is that called?

It's nice that it keeps you up high so you stay out of the water. -once-

Does that thing climb stairs?

I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own eyes.

Is that a Dean Kamen invention? -once-

Cool, now architects won't have to worry about ramps and stuff (after I told him that climbs stairs). -once-

I want one! (Coming from a walking teenager) No really, I do! -once-

That'd be great for my dad.

How nice that you can talk to people eye to eye.

Where'd you get that?

Oh look, it even has turn signals on it! (I don't know why, but people get really excited about this. Nevermind that it is balancing on two wheels... it has turn signals!)

Are you doing that on purpose? -once- (I think this one was my all time favorite. He was drunk and he came up running to me from behind and he was very concerned.)

How fast does it go?

Have you ever tipped over?

That's good for being able to reach things up high.

How long does the charge last?

That is sick! (meaning cool)

That is so rad!

If I ever get put in a wheelchair, I want one like that! -once-

You must have incredible balance!

I'm sorry that you need a wheelchair, but since you do, it's great that you have this one!

That looks like fun!

That looks like fun but I wouldn't want to be in one for more than about 2 minutes.

I will add more as I hear them.

p.s. The most common question I get when I'm in my manual chair is, "Wanna race?" If I had a nickle for everytime I heard that one...


Enjoying the Ride said...

The most common word I hear is "cool", and that almost always comes from a child, and it is almost always uttered to their parent just after I've passed by said child while in balance mode.

Others that you list which I've heard a lot are:

"Is that the same technology as the Segway?"

"Have you ever tipped over?"

One that I've heard a few times, which was not on your list:

"I'm sorry that you need a wheelchair, but since you do, it's great that you have this one."

I get a lot of remarks about how people would like to get one for their elderly parent. I try to politely tell folks that iBOTs are not ideally suited for feeble, elderly people, but I usually just smile and nod instead.

By the way, you do have turn signals on your iBOT (or at least I do on the iBOT 4000). Push the triangular button once. You'll see left and right arrows on the screen. Move your right toggle switch left or right to activate either side's turn signals. It's a stupid feature I've never used.

Great list of remarks! I love it.

Shannon said...

Enjoying the Ride,

Someone left a comment on my blog once and they said they thought the iBOT was a gimmick and that among other things, "it literally scares children!" Pretty funny. Obviously that person either didn't have an iBOT or he/she had an iBOT but something else about him/her was literally scaring children!

Oh yes, I've heard the "I'm sorry you need a wheelchair..." comment. I will add that one. I thought of another one I sometimes get: "That looks like fun!"

That's so funny about the turn signals! I never knew! I was telling a friend the other day about people saying it has turn signals and he said my response to that should be, "Yeah, they are helpful on the freeway". I'll say that next time! LOL!

Pablo Soto said...

Hi there!

My name is Pablo. I just got my iBot :)))) It's used, I bought it on eBay, and I'm trying to put it in perfect shape (it's a little bit worn/aged).

The number is 021105 -- 001110, a really old one, but still, the best thing I could ever get, I'm so happy :))) I've been monitoring eBay for ages trying to find one. I was even ripped off by a scammer, sort of. But now I finally got my bot and I love it. Yay! :D

Shannon said...

That's so exciting! Congratulations! You live in Spain? Did you have to come to America to get it?

Pablo Soto said...

Yes, I live in Madrid, and I went to London... not that far :))

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

WheelchairPride said...

Hi Pablo:

Since you live in Spain, I wonder if you know about this:

It is a guy from Barcelona who coverts used segways into wheelchairs. It was sent to me by a friend of mine from Barcelona.

I guess it is sort of an economy version of an IBOT. What do you think of it?

Shannon I love the list, but I am guessing if I ever saw you, I might say a few of those things myself. Actually since I have read your blog, I know you did tip over! Well not tip over, but sort of launched from the IBOT.

Pablo Soto said...

Hi WheelchairPride,

I didn't know about that segway modder from Barcelona. That thing looks cool, although it doesn't have the functions that make the iBot so worthy. But it looks very cool!

PD: Shannon, the iBot actually has turn lights, you gotta press the triangle button in the middle, then push the right toggle to the side you want signaled. I discovered it messing around :D

Shannon said...

Anonymous, glad you enjoy my blog.

WP, one question I've never been asked is, "Have you ever taken it for a test flight, such as down your porch stairs!" LOL!

Pablo, good to know about the turn signals. Now I can take it on the freeway! ; P

Pat said...

Welcome back. I check daily and I've missed you!


Shannon said...

Hi Pat! How are things with your iBOT?

Cajones said...

I spent two years trying to get an iBot through my insurance company and finally decided to find a way to pay for it myself when it was discontinued.

I recently made arrangements to purchase one from the family of a deceased user. My initial contact with Independence Technology regarding this possible purchase was exciting. I was told that they will work only with buyers who are qualified to use the iBot but saw no problem with me since I'd already been approved for the chair. They said that they would send someone to calibrate the chair for my needs, and my cost for that service would not be too much. However, there would be no possibility of transferring the warranty to a new buyer and the risk would be mine in terms of replacing or repairing anything that goes wrong.

I touched base with them a few days before making final arrangements to buy the chair and was told that the information I was given earlier was incorrect. They were adamant that there would be no support at all for secondary iBot buyers. They said that they would absolutely not send someone to calibrate the chair for me and that if a part needed to be replaced that they would not even sell it to me. This would include, I believe, tires and batteries. She said they would not answer my questions or even talk with me on the support line.
I am decimated and could not possibly buy the chair. You can understand my bitter disappointment. I was told that there was a list of current owners willing to buy another chair and that owners could sell it to one of them. Independence Technology will provide support on a used iBot for current owners.

Please continue with your efforts to get this wonderful equipment back into production.

Shannon said...

I'm so sorry Cajones. It's probably their lawyers talking. I bought mine used and they would not transfer the warranty. However, they've been excellent in their customer service to me. How heart-breaking for you. There is someone else who recently bought a used one and he says he isn't getting good support from IT either. This is not good. Let me think and I'll respond again later. I know a guy who is a mechanical engineer and he knows my iBOT fairly well, so I'll talk to him and see what he thinks.

Pat said...


I tried to answer you, but I must have messed something up 'cause it didn't post. Anyway, I've had my 'bot for a year as of Halloween and each time I've done something I didn't do before I had the 'bot I love it all the more. Anyway, it'll soon be time to replace the bstteries, though, on IT advice, I've moved to weekly deep discharge from monthly to extend battery life. And, as to that, so you change your batteries or do you pay the service fee (now $145) and have them do it? Thanks!


Shannon said...

Cajones, I've been thinking about your situation a lot. I was thinking maybe you could get someone outside of IT to do the calibrating and service, but I doubt that is possible.

I wish there was something I could do to help. : (

Shannon said...

Pat, I don't think I've had to change my batteries and so I have no advice for you there. I'd do the service call thing though. If I remember correctly, I heard changing the batteries is difficult. I think the batteries themselves are expensive. Do you know?

They told you to do the deep discharge once a week instead of once a month? No one told me that. I'll have to give them a call and see if they tell me the same thing. Also, good to know they've increased their service charge fee.

Pat said...


Last I heard the batteries were $1100 the set. How long have you had your 'bot. If a year or more, you're fortunate about the batteries. Longest I've heard of is 14 months or so.


Shannon said...

Wow, I've had it about 2 years now and haven't had to replace them. How do you know when they are going bad?

Cajones said...


Thanks for your thoughts. I actually do think I found someone who could work on the chair, but I was afraid that I would not be able to get parts. I spoke with Tracy at IT, and she was very firm about the situation.

Pat said...

According to IT, you start getting alarms more frequently. I've noted a slightly faster discharge rate but so far it hasn't bothered me due to nightly charging.


Shannon said...

Cajones and Pat, I just spoke with IT and I will make new posts about what I found out.

Pat said...

Major surgery?? If it's not too personal, what kind? Like many people in wheelchairs I've had my share, both related to my disability and not, so I sympathize. God bless and keep a positive attitude. Respond privately, if you'd rather, assuming you want to respond at all.


Shannon said...


Due to scoliosis, I had rods put in my spine when I was 13. They recently broke. I'm having surgery to fuse my spine and put new hardware in. It's a pretty rough surgery and recovery, so I'm not looking forward to it one bit. :(

Cajones said...


I'll be thinking of you. Hope all goes well and you're back soon.

Shannon said...

Thank you. I appreciate all the good thoughts I can get!