The New Revolutionary Wheelchair: Permoveh


The 4wd Permoveh wheelchair revolutionizes the wheelchair industry with it’s omnidirectional wheels. Invented by a team of Kyoto University researchers under the guidance of Masaharu Komori, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Permoveh has wheels within it’s wheels enabling sideways and diagonal movement at the drop of a dime. The device’s name is short for ‘Personal Mobility Vehicle’ and it is operated via a hand-held control by it’s user. The goal of this device is not only for people with limited mobility to become mobile, but also to ease access when moving through areas with limited space. According to the university, the wheel technology used could be simulated in factory and warehouse use for mobilizing conveyor equipment. The current top speed of this next-generation prototype is 3.7 mph, costing about $36,300 to create. While this device has not yet gone on the market, the main goals of Komori and his team are to make the Permoveh more compact, to reduce the current cost, and to market the product within 3 – 5 years.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.