Dean Kamen, the man who gave us the Segway, has teamed up with Toyota to bring back another one of his most fascinating transportation devices: the iBot.
The iBot debuted back in the late '90s as an innovative multi-wheel chair that gave wheelchair-bound users the ability to travel up steep stairways, elevate themselves to the height of a standing person and even traverse rough, outside terrain. However, with a cost of about $25,000 per unit, the device simply didn't find enough users to stick around, as the device was officially discontinued in 2009.
Now, in an announcement posted on its website on Saturday, Toyota has pledged to work with Kamen's Deka Research to launch a next generation version of the iBot.Kamen even appears in a new video (see below) riding the iBot, detailing the vision and reasoning behind bringing the device back into the market.
"Our company is very focused on mobility solutions for all people," Osamu 'Simon' Nagata, chief administrative officer at Toyota Motor North America, said in a statement on Toyota's website. "We realize that it is important to help older adults and people with special needs live well and continue to contribute their talents and experience to the world."
Toyota will also license Deka's balancing technology for the development of other medical rehabilitative therapeutic solutions.
No price or release date for the next iteration of the iBot has been announced, but given the history of the first, potential users can at least hope for a lower price in the future.