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FDA Approves 'SUV' of Wheelchairs

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FDA Approves 'SUV' of Wheelchairs

FDA Approves 'SUV' of Wheelchairs

Futuristic iBOT Makes Short Work of Stairs, Curbs

FDA Approves 'SUV' of Wheelchairs

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1395751/1395870" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The iBOT rolls up a curb. Independence Technology hide caption

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Independence Technology

The wheelchair traverses up stairs by elevating and tilting its passengers. Independence Technology hide caption

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Independence Technology

An estimated 2 million Americans use wheelchairs or motorized scooters. For some, obstacles such as stairs, elevated curbs and rocky terrain may no longer pose such a steep challenge.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved what is being called the SUV of wheelchairs. The iBOT, priced at $29,000, can climb stairs, bound up curbs, and glide through gravel, sand and grass. It can even elevate a seated passenger to reach the top shelf at a grocery store.

NPR's Michele Norris, host of All Things Considered, talks with NPR's Joseph Shapiro about how the wheelchair works and whom it might benefit.