The WHILL Model Ci’s patented front omni wheels give the distinct advantage of eliminating swiveling casters. This allows the use of a larger wheel without interfering with the user’s foot placement. It also allows for extraordinary maneuverability. The Model Ci is about the length of a compact scooter, but due to the omni wheels, it turns in half of the space needed by a travel scooter. This maneuverability is among the biggest benefits of the unit.
From there, WHILL departed from its prior platform and made a slimline design that is sleek and portable. A simple but supportive seat with joystick and controls integrated into the armrests provides meaningful positioning for most users — at least for part time use. As for portability, the frame quickly disassembles into three separate pieces, easily fitting into a taxi’s trunk. Speeds up to 5 mph and a range of 10 miles are powered by a 10Ah lithium-ion battery.
Among the most groundbreaking features of the Model Ci is its Bluetooth connectivity with an iPhone. The application not only displays all of the wheelchair’s data, but also allows driving it via your phone remotely, so you can fetch it from across the room or wherever it may be, within reason.
The Model Ci has a MSRP of a mere $3,999, available through SpinLife and other online mobility retailers. That’s a lot of product for the money. So, how do they do it so cost-effectively? The answer is, although it’s marketed to wheelchair users, they make it clear that it’s a “personal electric vehicle” that hasn’t been submitted or tested as an FDA-regulated medical device. With WHILL’s exceptional reputation, this shouldn’t be a deterrent to the buyer, but it certainly has reduced the design and manufacturing costs dramatically. In all, it’s a fantastic portable power wheelchair at a reasonable price.
Photo credit: WHILL