Monday, November 30, 2009

It's not an iBOT, but I really like this chair

I just spoke with the guy who designed and makes these elevating wheelchairs:

Power Elevating Wheelchair

and...

Manual Elevating Wheelchair

I'm very excited about this wheelchair because I think it's a good alternative to the iBOT. Since finding out that the iBOT will no longer be manufactured, I've worried about my future without the iBOT. I don't know how I could go back to a normal wheelchair now that I've experienced the iBOT. The chair that I've just discovered and posted links to above does not have all the features that the iBOT does. It does not climb stairs and it is not an off-road chair. It does elevate the user though, and as I've said numerous times before, being eye level with an average standing adult is the most important thing.

I'm going to call the elevating wheelchair the EW (elevating chair).

Comparing the EW and the iBOT, the following is what I like about the EW:

1.Replacing parts on the EW is easy. Parts are easily available, and it is not a complicated system, meaning just about anyone could do the work. Replacing parts on the iBOT most likely means ordering the part through Independence Technology. When the iBOT needs to be serviced, it has to be done by a trained IT tech. Average Joe can service the EW.

2.Battery life for the EW is about 5 years. Battery life for the iBOT is about 1 year.

3.Cost to replace the EW battery is $30.00. Cost to replace the iBOT batteries is $1,100.

4.Weight of the EW is 150lbs. Weight of the iBOT is nearly 300lbs.

5.The builder of the EW claims it has good shock absorption. The iBOT definitely does not have good shock absorption.

6.The EW is far more aesthetically appealing to me. I've always thought the iBOT is incredibly ugly.

7.The EW goes higher than the iBOT. My 12 year old daughter is now taller than me when I'm in Balance Function in the iBOT. I've often found myself wishing the iBOT went higher than it does.

8.The EW is very stable. The builder says it's 100% tip proof. Although I feel very safe in the Balance Function of the iBOT, it can suddenly transition out of Balance. This doesn't mean it tips over. It just means that it suddenly goes from 2 wheels to 4 wheels. This transition is not smooth. That is not a good thing for someone who lives with pain or someone with osteoporsis or an unstable spine.

Comparing the EC and the iBOT, this is what I like about the iBOT:

1.The iBOT is "cool". It just is. It's fun (usually) seeing the way people react when they see it balancing on 2 wheels.

2.The iBOT has 4 Wheel Drive Function. The EW does not have off-road capabilities.

3.The iBOT climbs curbs. The EW does not.

At this point, I would not trade my iBOT for the EW. While there are numerous things about the EW that are better than the iBOT (IMO), I do enjoy the 4 Wheel Drive and curb climbing functions quite a bit. I do think the EW might be a good alternative to the iBOT though. If my iBOT were to die tomorrow, and I had the money, I would have a serious look at the EW.

Production is 6 to 8 weeks for the EW. He has been making them for about 10 years now. Some private insurance companies are covering the cost, but like with the iBOT, Medicare is not.

If you have been thinking about purchasing a used iBOT, I think the EW is something you should consider. The cost for the manual EW is about $10,000. The cost for the power EW is $15,933. HOWEVER, there is going to be an significant increase in the cost of the EW most likely within the next couple of weeks. If the EW interests you, find out more about it now. He told me that he will hold the price at $15,933 for only another week or two. You can call him at 805-797-7989.

12 comments:

Enjoying the Ride said...

I'm also looking down the road to my life after iBOT, sadly. Here is another option- a standing wheelchair.

http://www.usatechguide.org/itemreview.php?itemid=1267

Shannon said...

So you stand in that chair, right? That wouldn't work for me because I haven't stood in years and my bones are too brittle.

Enjoying the Ride said...

Yes, it is a standing chair.

I have an unrelated iBOT question for you. The "book" says not to take the iBOT through those theft detection devices at store exits. I've obeyed this so far, but I wonder if it's an old wives tail. Any thoughts?

Stephanie said...

Hi Shannon!!

Anonymous said...

first catch your hare, then cook him........................................

Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read this post. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

Herrad said...

Hi,
Happy Christmas.
Love,
Herrad

Shannon said...

Happy Holidays!

Wheelchair Pride said...

Hi Shannon:

I just want to make the point that there are quite a few elevating wheelchairs on the market. I have not researched the market well (maybe I will soon!), but as an example, Etac makes an elevating wheelchair called the Balder Finesse:

http://www.etac.net/External/Page____4346.aspx

Permobil has something called Chairman Vertical.

It would be interesting to try to do a comparison. Anyone interested?

Shannon said...

Hi Wheelchair Pride,

I had never seen the Etac chair before. It looks pretty nice. Not as cool as the iBOT of course, but it does elevate and that's a biggie. I wonder what the price tag on it is.

Wheelchair Pride said...

Shannon:

No, it is not an IBOT, but could be the next best thing.

Sometimes it is hard to find prices online for these things. I found a site which shows the price for a child's model:

http://www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk/children/stand_up-powered-wheelchairs/balder-finesse-powerchair-0031978-2786-information.htm

That says prices start at GBP 9,444 so I guess it is about the same price as the other elevating wheelchair.

My point is that there are several elevating wheelchairs and if someone is interested in buying, they should look for the best for their needs. I have not seen any articles written reviewing elevating wheelchairs. I sometimes do such articles for my wheelchair website. You can see some of my articles here:

http://www.newdisability.com/articles.htm

Mostly I write about manual wheelchairs. But this could be an interesting topic. However, I have no idea how to make comparisons of these as it seems difficult to get information about them. Any suggestions? Or if anyone is looking into an elevating wheelchair, perhaps we can share efforts and research it together.

Shannon said...

I also like how it reclines. I have a medical condition at the moment that doesn't allow me to be vertical for more than 45 minutes. If this problem cannot be fixed, I will have to look into getting a chair like that one.

Maybe I'll give the company a call tomorrow and ask for a price.