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Scooter and Wheelchair Are Big Hits at Electronics Show

Mobility goes high tech at this year's exhibition of new gadgets and devices

spinner image A woman uses a Whill Model Ci mobility chair
The first smart folding mobility scooters are lighter and thinner than conventional scooters.
Courtesy of Whill

There are a lot of mind-blowing gadgets on display at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But for older Americans with disabilities who need help getting around, two award-winning mobility devices may be the biggest attractions.

One honoree is the RELYNC , whose manufacturer bills it as the world’s first smart folding mobility scooter. Lighter and thinner than conventional scooters, the $3,600 device is designed to fit into a suitcase for travel. “It takes just three seconds to unfold,” RELYNC brand manager Jiaqi Li says.

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RELYNC utilizes a built-in gyroscope sensor and algorithms to automatically slow down the scooter when the user is going down hills or around sharp turns. It also has a set of built-in navigation lights that connect to a smartphone app and give directions on where to turn so that a user can focus on the road instead of glancing at a screen, according to Li.

Another promising mobility tool on display, also named as an honoree, is the Whill Model Ci, a $3,999 “personal electric vehicle” with a 10-mile range that is maneuverable enough to navigate through tight doorways and indoor spaces but powerful and sturdy enough to climb hills and navigate rugged terrain.

The Model Ci is designed for “those people who are active, social, want to be outdoors as well as go to small restaurants, museums and the theater without bumping into things and knocking things over,” said Ted Fagenson, Whill vice president of sales and marketing.

About 13 percent of Americans in the 65-to-75 age group and 28 percent of those 75 and older have difficulty walking, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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