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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 00:26 GMT 01:26 UK
Enabling ideas headline at show
By Geoff Adams-Spink
Age & disability correspondent, BBC News website

A device that lifts a wheelchair into a box on top of a car roof and a mobility scooter that can turn on its own axis are the stars of this year's Mobility Roadshow at Kemble Airfield in Gloucestershire.

Roof-Spider in a  car

The Roof-Spider can lift manual, folding wheelchairs weighing up to 25kg into a storage box that sits on the roof of an MPV or estate car.

It can take a wheelchair from either side of the vehicle, is operated by remote control and sets down the chair at the other end of a journey.

The Roof-Spider is made by a Swedish company - Autoadapt - and sold by its UK subsidiary.

The company says the device will give disabled people greater independence because many have to rely on someone else to load and unload their wheelchair.

It also has the advantage of keeping the interior of the car clean and freeing up boot space.

"The person using it should have good upper body strength to be able to use the box," said John Bhogal, sales manager of Autoadapt UK.

The Roof-Spider is CE approved and has been fully crash tested, but Mr Bhogal insists that people must adhere to the 25kg weight limit.

"Some people have powered, folding chairs and they can often weigh more than 25kg but we advise against this. You also need to make sure that the car roof is able to take the payload of a 54kg box plus a 25kg chair."

Autoadapt expects the Roof-Spider to sell for around 3,500.

Turn on a sixpence

Another visually impressive piece of kit on display is Switch Mobility's CP3 scooter.

Photo of the CP3 scooter
The CP3 is better suited to indoor use

Because of its compact size, ability to turn a full circle on its own axis and to move sideways, the company expects it to appeal to people who want to use them indoors and even at home.

Most mobility scooters are primarily designed for use outdoors.

The German-engineered CP3 has its rear wheels separately driven by hub motors that can also be individually steered.

This gives it the ability to turn on the spot and to drive sideways - something that Switch Mobility optimistically describes as "advanced walking".

It certainly gives the machine the ability to manoeuvre in extremely confined spaces.

Fieldmaster

The CP3's steering column pivots forwards so that people can get on and off more easily and has a fully adjustable seat.

"Every person no matter what size and proportion will enjoy a comfortable entry and optimal seating position," said a company spokesperson.

The scooter is being marketed in the UK by Sheffield-based A & G Mobility and costs around 6,000.

According to the organisers, the Mobility Roadshow is the largest event of its type anywhere in the world.

By the time the show closes on Saturday evening - and in spite of the rapidly changing weather - around 15,000 people are expected to attend.

The Mobility Roadshow is at Kemble Airfield in Gloucestershire from July 19 - 21.


SEE ALSO
Device makes pet feeding easier
27 Apr 07 |  Technology
Smart hat brings play to disabled
09 May 07 |  Technology
Disabled under-fives get mobile
26 Apr 07 |  Technology
In Pictures: Mobility Roadshow 2007
23 Jul 07 |  In Pictures

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