Discovering the iBot's Pros and Cons

iBot's size is biggest drawback, making it difficult to carry in a car or use in cramped quarters

Published: 19-Aug-2003

When Dr. Rich Barbara signed up to test the iBOT Johnson and Johnson's stair-climbing wheelchair -- in the summer of 2001, he thought he would be reluctant to give it back at the end of the two-week trial. But impressed as he was with its balancing abilities, Dr. Barbara, a 50-year-old paraplegic, found himself yearning for his manual wheelchair.

"I was glad when my two weeks were up," said Dr. Barbara, a clinical psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh's Rehabilitation Hospital.

The Independence iBOT 3000 Mobility System, which won approval from the Food and Drug Administration last week, was designed by Dean Kamen, a New Hampshire inventor, many years before he introduced his Segway transporter in 2001.

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