Look out, Rascal. You may just have some new competition in the fast-moving field of slow-moving mobility -- at least if this new RODEM prototype developed by a group of research partners at Japan's Veda Center (including Tmsuk) actually hits the market. Apparently designed to be used as both a replacement for a wheelchair and as a general purpose "universal vehicle," the four-wheeled RODEM allows folks to simply lean forward slightly without the need for any back support, which the group says will let people get in and out of the vehicle more easily, and with less assistance from care-givers. Of course, no sci-fi inspired vehicle would be complete without a few bells and whistles, and it looks like the RODEM is more than capable in that department, with it packing some built-in GPS, automatic obstacle evasion control, automatic slope correction, an "autonomous navigation function," voice recognition, and some sort of vital monitoring system (all of which may or may not actually be included in the prototype) -- not to mention a top speed of 6 kilometers per hour.

[Via Physorg]

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Japanese researchers debut wheelchair-replacing RODEM "universal vehicle"