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Whill, the mobility device maker that won the grand prize at TechCrunch Tokyo’s 2012 event, has launched a Kickstarter campaign that will raise funds needed to fine-tune the final version of its flagship product, the Whill Type-A, and develop its companion app.
Though the Type-A was initially created as a wheelchair alternative, the startup, which was founded by former Sony, Olympus and Toyota engineers, does not refer to it as a wheelchair because “we are focused on personal mobility for everyone,” director of business development Atsushi Mizushima told TechCrunch.
The Type-A, which received a Red Dot Design Award honorable mention for product design, has a turning radius of 28-inches, a four-wheel drive so it can handle a wide range of terrain, and incline capability of about 10 degrees.
If the Kickstarter campaign, which has already raised more than $10,000 out of the $30,000 it is seeking before July 12, is successful, Whill will use the funds to develop a smartphone app that will integrate with the Type-A and allow users to remotely control their devices, find the nearest charging station, and send feedback along with hardware diagnostic reports to the company in case of problems.
To get a Whill Type-A, you have to pledge $9,500 or more, but a pledge of $100 will get you a trip to Whill’s headquarters and tech shop in Silicon Valley.