Researchers at the Polytechnic University in Tokyo have developed the Magic Carpet, a machine that enables young children with walking problems to experience moving around and become used to the wheelchairs they will eventually need to use.
Devices that help disabled people to get around haven’t been updated too much in the past few decades – but we have seen a few innovations in this area such as AMS Mekatronic’s Tek RMD. With this in mind, researchers at the Polytechnic University in Tokyo have developed the Magic Carpet, a machine that enables young children with walking problems to experience moving around independently and become used to the wheelchairs they will eventually need to use. The device consists of a carpeted platform on wheels with intuitive controls that allow the child to move it forwards and backwards or to spin on the spot in a left or right direction. It can travel in a range of five speeds – from 0.4km per hour to four km per hour – and also features an emergency stop button. The researchers have developed the device with a number of different control options, depending on whether the child is sitting upright or lying down on the platform. With help from a therapist, the child can learn each control process and eventually be able to use it independently. The platform can withstand a load of 90 kg, meaning that parents will be able to stand with their child as it is learning. The following video from DigInfoTV demonstrates how the device works: The team behind the Magic Carpet will continue to work on the machine, hoping to include line-tracing technology that will ensure the device never moves outside of a prescribed area. Are there other ways disabled children could be helped to prepare for the equipment they will have to use in later life? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel