How Toyota Is Bringing Back the Amazing iBOT

Shelved amid lack of reimbursement from Medicare, DEKA's stair-climbing, all-terrain wheelchair is set for a comeback amid a new partnership with Toyota. 

Qmed Staff

DEKA Research and Development (Manchester, NH) has inked a deal with Toyota that will enable the development and launch of a next-generation iBOT motorized wheelchair, the two companies recently announced. 

Under the deal, Toyota will license balancing technologies held by DEKA and its affiliate. The technologies are for medical rehabilitative therapy, but could potentially be used for other purposes. The two companies are in discussions for Toyota to provide further assistance. 

The iBOT was originally created in partnership with Johnson & Johnson and FDA approved. But it was discontinued in 2009 amid poor sales. Medicare would only cover about a fourth of the wheelchair's roughly $22,000 price tag.

Now Toyota is helping to bring back a new and improved iBOT.

"Toyota and DEKA share the same vision of making mobility available to people of every kind of ability," said DEKA founder Dean Kamen. "We are excited about this new relationship and excited about what it means for making that dream a reality."

Check out this video of Kamen showing off the iBOT:

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at MD&M East, June 14-15, 2016 in New York City.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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