Disabled veteran from New Jersey given high-tech wheelchair that can go up stairs
A disabled veteran from New Jersey was given a new, high-tech wheelchair that would allow him greater mobility.
“Imagine a veteran who’s been in the house 2, 3, 4, 5 years or more because they didn’t have one of these chairs to be able to move around and do different things without burdening someone else to take them,” says veteran Rickey Phillips.
The iBot was created by Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway. The chair allows a person to “stand” at eye level and it can even go up a set of stairs.
“I spent my whole life building medical equipment. I spent years building the iBot to restore dignity, access, balance to somebody that can’t walk. It’s a medical device,” Kamen says.
New Jersey Rep. Mikie Sherrill says that the iBot chair will allow the veterans to get some of their dignity back.
“I think that what struck me most about hearing from one of our veterans…he said, ‘Oh yeah, I knew I’d go up stairs and that is amazing and that’s what I wanted. But what I didn’t realize what I wanted was dignity, as to be able to look somebody in the eye, at eye level. Was to be able to stand behind a podium, not sit to the side of it,’” Sherrill says.
Phillips says that being able to look somebody in the eye is more important than most people know.
“I don’t think anyone thinks about it because it comes so naturally for most people. But it’s very important. It’s very important in a conversation to be able to look a person in the eye,” Phillips says.