Professor X take note: the WHILL is one snazzy wheelchair accessory. The latest in innovative solutions for people with physical disabilities, this crazy-looking device made by the Japanese company of the same name attaches to any standard wheelchair and turns it into an electric vehicle, allowing the user to navigate with environmentally-friendly ease.
While the WHILL might look like a giant pair of headphones, it’s actually more akin to a Segway. Two hubs clamp onto the wheelchair’s wheels, and are connected via a curved control arm that passes over the user’s waist. Each hub contains a 24-volt motor powered by a lithium ion battery pack. The user steers by leaning in the direction they want to go, much like piloting a Segway.
The batteries take about two hours to charge, and one charge will take you about 19 miles at a top speed of about 12.5 mph. WHILL is currently looking for volunteers to field test its design and provide feedback on the prototype. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability, but presumably we’ll know more once the current round of testing is complete.