Stairs, curbs, mud and gravel are limiting obstacles for people in wheelchairs. A startup from Winterthur wants to redefine life for people with impaired mobility.
Scewo developed the self balancing wheelchair “Scewo Bro” for agile maneuvering on the spot and dynamic driving over common obstacles. It comes with different modes, one of which even allows climbing stairs: Upon approaching steps, two rubber tracks under the wheelchair are extended. The chair’s seat is kept level at all time. The transitions on and off the stairs are automated. The same tracks can be used to offer more traction when navigating on slippery surfaces or to overcome bigger obstacles and steep inclines. Another interesting mode is the “Elevated Mode” in which the seat can be elevated to enable eye-to-eye communication and a better reach. “Scewo Bro” uniquely combines agility and stability and the software developers are working hard to increase the level of automatization, to help detect critical situations and to drive certain distances autonomously.
„Being the CEO of Scewo is the coolest job ever.“ – Bernhard Winter
Scewo has closed a seed round and is currently raising funds to accelerate market entry, obtain CE certification and to complete the production of the first wheelchairs that will be delivered to clients by the end of 2019. The company is accepting pre-orders on its website.
The founding team consists of the mechanical engineers Bernhard Winter and Pascal Buholzer from ETH Zurich and of ZHdK Industrial Designer Thomas Gemperle. After putting their ideas together, they built a prototype within nine months. Their product video went viral and people called, wanting to buy the Scewo-wheelchair. This gave the founders the confidence to build a business around their product. Today the interdisciplinary team consists of about 20 people.