PEDAL-POWERED WHEELCHAIRS – NOW A REALITY THANKS TO COGY.
After seeing the prototype of a pedal-powered wheelchair on television, Kenji Suzuki, a Japanese teacher, saw the potential for one of his students to increase their mobility using a pedal-powered chair. The student used a traditional wheelchair which often meant that their movement and participation in activities was restricted. And so, the idea for the Cogy - a wheelchair to help increase mobility and rehabilitate those with spinal injury or other mobility difficulties - was born.
The wheelchair’s design is based on reflexivity which allows users with limited mobility to use momentum to propel themselves forward. What makes the Cogy different, according to Suzuki, is that comfort is secondary to helping with the rehabilitation and mobility of people who have been left with little hope of walking again.
To begin with, many health professionals were sceptical of the technology, but after many successful test cases, they began to be convinced. The problem was that investors also questioned whether there would actually be a market for the wheelchair – which Suzuki claimed was the first pedal-powered one that was actually brought to market. Subsequently, other manufacturers have produced their own versions, suggesting that it has a place in the wheelchair market.
In 2016, Daiwa House Industry Co. invested resources into Cody to progress a reboot of its brand and website. The investment was part of Daiwa’s investments in robotic and other health-related technologies.
In addition, as well as marketing directly to health care companies, Cogy will now be sold directly to consumers thanks to Daiwa’s investment.
Looking to the future, with the launch of a new children’s version of Cogy, and plans to expand abroad next year, Suzuki’s aim is to sell 10,000 wheelchairs a year.
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