Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

WHill and U-Blox partner on connected wheelchairs

Steve Rogerson
July 5, 2017



WHill, a Japanese company specialising in mobility products, is planning an autonomous wheelchair using wireless positioning and connectivity technology from Swiss company U-Blox.
 
As a first step, it has launched a wheelchair with cloud connectivity based on a U-Blox 3G cellular module.
 
The WHill Model C is said to embody the next generation of power wheelchairs for enhanced mobility. It is a personal electric vehicle that combines a sleek design with the latest functionalities, enabling users to live an active lifestyle. Sturdy and compact with two powerful electric motors and patented front Omni-wheels, it manoeuvres equally well indoors and outdoors.
 
“WHill believes in providing fun and smart transportation for everybody, and develops personal mobility devices that excel in design, comfort, safety and the latest technologies,” said Nishiki Hinohara, electrical engineer at WHill. “U-Blox’s state-of-the-art, but also affordable, cellular technologies were just what we needed.”
 
The 3G cellular module embedded in the Model C has worldwide UMTS HSPA and GPRS Edge coverage with a small footprint enabling easy bolting-on of a U-Blox GNSS receiver such as the Max-7C.
 
“We are very proud of being featured in the WHill Model C wheelchair,” said Tesshu Naka, country manager for U-Blox in Japan. “The collaboration with WHill should help us strengthen our position in the Japanese market as a key player for healthcare applications where numerous complementary technologies are necessary.”