A new wheelchair gives users a greater freedom to reach previously inaccessible areas.

The ‘tank-like’ TopChair-S, which has fold-out caterpillar tracks tucked behind its standard wheels, is capable of scaling steps in minutes.

The French-designed machine transforms from a standard chair to a tracked vehicle at the push of a button. Currently, the mobility aid – priced at $17,000 – can travel at 6 mph and ascend 12 steps in just two minutes. Eslie Barret-Castan, member of the TopChair team, explains why the all-terrain vehicle is breaking new ground.

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How did the TopChair-S project idea come to fruition?

The inspiration was to mix two existing products into one product in the market: the power wheelchair and the stair climber.

What features distinguish this chair from any other?

The TopChair-S is the only product in the market, which can climb stairs.

How does this electric wheelchair work?

It is working as a power wheelchair on wheels. There is a mode to put the wheelchair on tracks, then the system will automatically detect the first and last step. It is a safety system and we have the CE conformity certificate.

Can this chair fit any type of disability?

This chair can fit any disability. We produce the wheelchair and we customize it (environment control and accessories).Each chair is customizable as each customer has a specific need or wish (color and choice of seat).

How can this device change the lives of those who need to use a wheelchair?

This means that disabled users can go to previously non-accessible places, such as the church, museums or city centres. For some people, it makes leaving the house easier, particularly if they're living in a place with many stairs.

What does the future hold for these kind of all-terrain wheelchairs?

We are always working on improving the products. For example, we aret developing new seats.

– Daniel Casillas