From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
President Bill Clinton and Dean Kamen in the White House, 2000

The iBOT is a powered wheelchair developed by Dean Kamen in a partnership between DEKA and Johnson and Johnson's Independence Technology division.

As of 2009, it is no longer available for sale from Independence Technology, but support for existing units was available until the end of 2013.[1] Production was discontinued for cost reasons; only a few hundred were sold per year at a retail price of about $25,000, and Medicare paid only $5000.[2]

In 2010, one organization was trying to revive the manufacture and maintenance of the iBOT Mobility System. America's Huey 091 Foundation is an organization that provides advanced mobility devices, which used to include the iBOT, to wounded disabled veterans. The foundation's goal is to help revive the manufacture of a new generation of iBOT and if possible to manufacture, sell, and maintain some using a veteran owned and operated organization.

In 2011, Dean Kamen, the inventor of the iBOT, stated his support of America's Huey 091 Foundation's effort to reinstate iBOT production.[3]

In late 2014, Kamen announced that the FDA had reclassified the iBOT from a Class III to a Class II medical device. This lowering of regulatory controls will allow DEKA to revive the long dormant iBOT and immediately start building a next generation product. Kamen said the model would be out in “less than two years" and would be available initially to wounded veterans. [4]


The iBOT has a number of features distinguishing it from most powered wheelchairs:

  • By rotating its two sets of powered wheels about each other, the iBOT can "walk" up and down stairs, much like a cog railway or a rack and pinion with the two wheels as the "teeth" of the gear. The wheels can roll slightly at each step to compensate for a wide range of stair dimensions. When stair-climbing without assistance, the user requires a sturdy handrail and a strong grip. With an assistant, neither a handrail nor a strong grip are required.
  • The iBOT is capable of tethered remote control operation, useful for loading the wheelchair up ramps into vehicles, or "parking" out of the way when not occupied.
  • Custom software receives data via various sensors and gyroscopes, allowing the iBOT to maintain balance during certain maneuvers. For example during curb climbing the seat remains level while parts of the chassis tilt to climb the curb.
  • It allows the user to rise from a sitting level to approximately 6' tall, measured from the ground to the top of the head, and depending on the size of the occupant (see illustration above). It does this by raising one pair of wheels above the other to elevate the chassis, while a separate actuator raises the seat slightly more than usual. In this configuration the device is on two wheels, and the 'iBALANCE' software and gyroscope signals control the iBOT to maintain equilibrium, balancing much like the Segway scooter (which was a spin-off from the iBOT development). The user may also travel in this "standing" configuration.
  • It can climb and descend curbs ranging from 0.1 to 5.0 inches, according to the manufacturer's specifications. The limits are determined by the rider's technique and risk tolerance.
  • It is capable of traveling through many types of terrain, including sand, gravel, and water up to 3" deep.[5]


  1. ^ iBot homepage, retrieved 10 Apr 2009
  2. ^ "iBOT’s End Puts Power Wheelchair’s Users In Tough Spot". WBUR Here & Now. 26 Dec 2011. Retrieved 20 Dec 2015. 
  3. ^ "Huey091 > Home". Huey091foundation.org. 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  4. ^ http://www.mobilehydraulictips.com/dean-kamen-leadership-engineering/
  5. ^ "Stair-Climbing Wheelchair - iBOT Mobility System". About.com. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 

External links[edit]