Meet the Next Generation Wheelchair

This device allows users to sit or stand and improves mobility

Jan 24, 2023
Meet the Next Generation Wheelchair | This device allows users to sit or stand and improves mobility

Many older people use a walker to help them get around. But for some, a wheelchair is necessary if the user cannot stand for long periods of time. Now a new device helps people with mobility challenges because it allows users the ability to sit or stand.

The Zeen, which takes its name from the draisine,  was created by Garret Brown who invented the Steadicam that transformed the film industry according to New Atlas. He didn’t set out to design a mobility device, but he saw the need to bridge the gap between walkers and wheelchairs as his father aged.

“I was with my dad as he gracefully declined in 2013,” Brown told New Atlas. “I watched his pals on walkers and wheelchairs and there, right between them, was this giant gap.” The Zeen was designed for people in the middle, who still have some mobility but need a little extra help.

Meet the Zeen
It took Brown and a small team of engineers around a decade of thinking and tinkering to get the device right, reported CBS News. Some of the earlier prototypes looked rather strange.

“I took an old walker and had this saddle welded onto it just to see what's this feels like," Brown told CBS News. “You have to be willing to look fairly goofy and silly when you're testing prototypes for machines that work with humans.”


The Zeen’s configuration is a seat that sits at the height of a wheelchair but can be easily changed into a standing position, according to New Atlas. Two springs raise the chair – and the person sitting on it – into an upright raised position. This allows users to walk and still be supported and there is a seatbelt that protects them from falls. The mobility device is also equipped with brakes to stop moving safely.

All four wheels swivel so that users can turn and when they want to sit down again, they only have to squeeze two levers on the handle bars. The Zeen only weighs 0 pounds (18 kilos) and can support people who weigh between 90 and 250 pounds (41 and 113 kilos).

Marketing the mobility device
The Zeen is now being commercially produced and is available on the company’s website. To promote interest in the product, Brown marketed the device at health care conventions, at  AARP events, and other places where he could reach people with limited mobility, reported CBS News.

To date, over 100 of the devices have been made including one for Pope Francis. “I was looking at a video report of Pope Francis struggling with mobility," Brown told CBS. “I thought, 'He could use one of these things.’” Brown even went to Rome for this special delivery.

Devices like the Zeen are becoming even more important as people are living longer and want to stay active. Increased mobility will really make the retirement years golden.

Introducing the New Smart Wheelchair
Standing Robotic Wheelchair Gets FDA Approval
New Off-Road Rig for Wheelchair Users

Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.