Date:25 September 2014
This battery-powered, six wheel-drive machine gives wheelchair users the ability to go just about anywhere able-bodied people can go on foot, at the push of a joystick. Launched a few months ago at Birmingham’s Naidex National trade show for the independent living aids industry, it was designed from the ground up to solve the problem of genuine all-terrain access for wheelchair users.
The HexHog’s patented flexible chassis is the key to the vehicle’s capability, says inventor and mechanical engineer Sion Pierce, explaining: “The flexing chassis irons out the lumps and bumps for a confident journey as the machine hugs the ground like a centipede when you ride over brows and troughs. You can even ascend 60-degree slopes.”
Pierce developed the design over five years, building on his experience of mechanised handling and control systems to design the HexHog. Having grown up on a family farm in Wales, he used the same land to test his designs. In essence, the HexHog is an ATV designed for wheelchair users.
“You can’t take the HexHog into supermarkets, but you can cross moorland, farmland or even peat bogs. The open-fronted design means users can look towards the horizon and enjoy the journey without having to focus on the ground, looking out for that ditch or rut that could disrupt regular wheelchairs.”
Key features include a lithium-ion battery (which means no vibration, fumes or engine noise), a long range, a fast recharge time of under two hours, and a clever system that advances and lowers the driving seat to a position that allows independent transfer from a wheelchair.